Skip to content

Update from the Gallery regarding COVID-19

The Art Gallery of New South Wales is open. We are observing strict physical distancing and hygiene measures to protect the health of visitors and staff and minimise the spread of COVID-19 (coronavirus). Read the latest visit information, including hours

Joseph Au

St Joseph's College, Hunters Hill

Artwork title
Learning to breathe
HSC year
Expressive form
Artist’s statement

Learning to breathe explores the melancholy and anxiety in the human condition. The paint, loosely applied to the surface, slides and saturates the canvas, representing the dissolving of the soul. The outline of the figures on each canvas strains the foreground, alluding to the physicality of the body engaged in the past.

The technique and composition of artist Cherry Hood has been a major influence on my perception of the amalgam of personal experience, subject matter and technique.

Collection connections

Examine the minimal, loose and dissolving painting technique, adopted by Cy Twombly and Joseph Au. Discuss how this approach draws the viewer’s attention to the art-making process. Discuss the sense of time, its movement and passing within both artworks. How is this conveyed? Investigate and compare the influence of other artists’ work on both Twombly and Au. How does appropriation enhance the final work and further inform the concept of time? With this in mind, is there really such a thing as an original artwork? Discuss.