The World’s Most Annoying Artist

Art Life , Op-ed May 24, 2004 No Comments

We were rocked last week by some disturbing news – you may be thinking, oh no, not that CraigRuddy-is-it-a-painting-is-it-a-drawing-backed-by-Liberals snore-athon. Well, no, it’s the shock discovery that Wendy Matthews is a huge fan of “painter” Bruno Dutot. We’ve been talking a lot lately about Aussie rock stars of the past, but we never thought we’d be talking about Matthews and Dutot in the same sentence.

Everyone has been suffering under the cruel dictatorship of Dutot for more than a decade. He’s the guy who paints the women with the wavy hands from behind and the dresses and cats and lots of paint scraped on with a spatula… Yikes. He does it on canvases, he does it on street walls and he’s even taken over the old Bayswater Rentals shopfront on Darlinghurst Road to use as a showroom. He’s bloody everywhere and he’s bloody awful. As The Daily Telegraph reported:

“An enigmatic Sydney painting, Oucha, will receive national exposure courtesy of the cover of Wendy Matthews’ new album, Cafe Naturale.

”Painter Bruno Dutot’s mysterious woman has been a traffic stopper on New South Head Rd at Edgecliff for 16 years.

“Not since Arthur Stace‘s copperplate eternity signature graced Sydney’s streets in the ’50s has street art attracted such attention.

The willowy figure, whose dress regularly changes colour under the cover of night, has been adapted for Matthews’ album, to be released on Monday.”

We have a fond place in our hearts for a parody that someone did of Dutot’s signature image (he appears to have only the one) where instead of the lithe Louise Brooks babe, the person had done a frumpy bag lady with a big arse. Instead of the “ooh la la” that comes out of a Dutot, this one was “ooh me feet.” Surprisingly, some people don’t agree with us and think that Dutot is, you know, an artist

“Matthews was inspired to commission her own Oucha after a friend in the Blue Mountains had the artist paint the Three Sisters in his idiosyncratic style.

“Since moving north Oucha has signified Sydney to me. Whenever I drive down here I can’t wait to get to the top of that hill at Edgecliff to see what dress she’s wearing,” Matthews said yesterday.

“Over Christmas she was wearing a beautiful pale blue for the first time and covered in falling snow, which reminded me of my family back home in Canada.”

Matthews seems a little confused. The painting is either Sydney or Canada or someplace over the rainbow where Dutot is considered to be good. The Art Life wishes Matthews all the luck in the world on her road back from musical oblivion and we hope that the Dutot ‘version’ helps her along.

As for the spurious reference to Stace, the real successor to the phantom scribbler was the person who went around writing 1912-3-T with a felt tip pen everywhere and on everything a few years ago and then mysteriously stopped.

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Andrew Frost

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