2020 Programme
3 March, 6:00pm–7:00pmFree Public Lecture
Speaker: Emeritus Prof. Richard Read (UWA): ‘Theories of Perception and the Aesthetics of Landscape Painting in Britain, Australia and the United States in the Eighteenth and Nineteenth Centuries’
Venue: The Circle, Reid Library, The University of Western Australia
Abstract: Discussions of landscape painting in this period have been dominated by traditional tensions between the aesthetic conventions of the beautiful, the sublime and the picturesque and how their significance differs in different countries. In this lecture Emeritus Professor Richard Read looks at the way in which such conventions are underwritten by conflicts between empirical and idealist theories of perception in painting and writing about landscapes that are new to Western occupiers. He argues that the issue of the blind man newly restored to sight in the philosophical writings of John Locke, Bishop Berkeley and others bears not only on the subject matter and style of certain landscape paintings in three countries, but forms of government and the legal status of indigenous peoples. This reflects the arguments of a chapter shortly to be published in Colonization, Wilderness and Other Spaces: Nineteenth-Century Landscape Painting in Australia and the United States, ed. Richard Read and Kenneth Haltman (Chicago: Terra Foundation for American Art distributed by University of Chicago Press, 2020). The chapter is the basis of a short book under contract with Cambridge University Press for publication in 2021, The Aftermath of Molyneux’s Question.

31 March, 6:00pm PMRG Annual General Meeting
The PMRG committee has decided that due to the COVID-19 situation, the 2020 AGM will not go ahead as planned but alternative arrangements will be made, and the AGM will be held online.
Time: 6:00pm
Venue: Online.
Tuesday 30 June, 6:00pm (AWST)First meeting of the PMRG Middle English online reading group.
The group will meet by Zoom for an hour every fortnight on Tuesdays at 6:00pm AWST, starting Tuesday June 30. The first text they’ll be reading is Geoffrey Chaucer’s The Wife of Bath’s Tale.

Wednesday 16 September, 6:30pm (AWST) Free PMRG/MEMS@UWA/CHE Public Lecture
Speaker: Emeritus Prof. Richard Read (UWA): ‘The Distant Origins of Modern Art: Reason, Madness and Reversal in Goya’s Paintings and Works on Paper’
Venue: Online via Zoom. Email [email protected] for the Zoom link and password.
Abstract: Much of the best literature on Goya draws on Michel Foucault’s thesis in Madness and Civilization that, just as Enlightenment medicine and philosophy divided madness and reason into mutually defining opposites, so opposites came to half-resemble each other in creating the Romantic stereotype of the mad genius, whom Goya, William Blake, Henry Fuseli and others came to embody.
This lecture looks at the confluence of public turmoil and private illness that prompted Goya to embody a new kind of art whose strangeness energized the spectator’s projections through the conspicuous artifice of the artist’s imagination. Just as Goya’s self-portraits follow Velázquez’s Las Meninas in adopting the trope of the reversed canvas, so etching itself entails a literal reversal not only of the design but also of black, white and intervening tones, a strategy amplified in depictions of figures flipping, spinning, and dropping. These effects consort with a paradox of values derived from the traditional cycle of the European Carnivalesque in which, after the French Revolution, social protest against repressive hierarchies was no longer an annual safety valve for revolutionary ferment, but a state of perpetual reversal. Hence the ‘End of Art’ does not begin with Hegel’s philosophical negation of art or Marcel Duchamp’s ‘anti-art’, but with Goya’s post-Enlightenment, post-revolutionary vision of the artist out of control, the victim of inner and outer compulsions, but also as facilitator of the viewers’ imagination rather than the agent of his patrons’ power, a tension Goya knew first hand through a career in which he stood in the crossfire between monarchs on whom his livelihood depended and the liberal intelligentsia from whom he drew his friends and ideas.
More details: http://www.historyofemotions.org.au/events/the-distant-origins-of-modern-art-reason-madness-and-reversal-in-goya-s-paintings-and-works-on-paper/
Postponed until September 2021 PMRG/MEMS@UWA/Limina Conference:
‘Adaptation in the Humanities: Reimagining the Past, Present, and Future’
Venue: The University of Western Australia
More details: https://conference.pmrg.org.au/
Postponed until September 2021
PMRG Annual Quiz Night