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Creative Paddington: Anthony Cahill

By Lola Pinder



Anthony Cahill is a Sydney-based artist whose practice moves easily between mediums, technically adept in everything from watercolour and oils to charcoal. He attended the UNSW Art & Design from 1980 until 1982. Cahill currently lectures in drawing and painting at the National Art School and holds Master’s degree in Fine Arts from the school. 

I was able to ask Cahill about his memories of UNSW A&D, what was then, the City Art Institute. He described his studies as ‘the best of times’. After completing a two-year Art Certificate at Meadowbank TAFE, Cahill valued the inspirational and encouraging group environment at the Paddington institution. He remembers great teachers at the time, such as Alan Oldfield, Syd Ball, Kevin Conner, Roy Jackson and Liz Ashburn, Graham Kuo and the self-motivated model of learning as important in his development at this time.

Cahill recalls fond memories of Paddington and its surrounds during his time at art school. He mentions the Oxford Street bookshops as regular haunts and many a memorable evening spent over a cheap meal. He recalls how the area was a great source of inspiration, explaining ‘when I was a student the art scene supplemented what we did with our studies, put things into a local context’. Cahill has been connected with the area for much of his career, with his first solo exhibition at Rex Irwin in 1985 and last year he exhibited at the Queen St Art Gallery.

Cahill references a love of the absurd as his inspiration for his practice. His paintings look at humankind and the landscape. His works contain a touch of the surreal in titles such as Accidental Landscape for DM and Impossible Landscape Kangaroo Street. Although not overtly political his practice examine the environment; a glove takes on a foreboding human presence, echoing Christo’s Wrapped Coast at Little Bay, or a man trapped in a cardboard box blind to his surrounds as he walks in circles, implies the disconnect of humans and nature. His practice addresses the relationship between the natural and the man-made environments.

Cahill is currently showing in the group show Openings at AirSpace Projects and his a solo show, The Other Place until March 28th at the Pine Street Creative Art Centre. 

This post is part of the Art Month Event Creative Paddington taking place on March 7th in conjunction with Metro Screen and UNSW Art & Design.



Images courtesy and © Anthony Cahill. 

The Encounter, Joan's Glove, 2014, oil on board, & Circle Work, 2012, oil on linen.