Patrick White in Focus
- University of Technology Sydney - 'Beautiful Minds'
UTS curated, in cooperation with the National Library of Australia, a focused exhibit on Australian Nobel Laureate Patrick White (1973). The exhibit was designed to introduce to new audiences the idea that White's somewhat difficult prose matches the complexity of the psychological and social conflict he describes. McNeil was the Host Curator of the Nobel Museum Visiting Exhibit and involved for six months with the pre-planning preparation. He was the academic curator of the Patrick White focus exhibit and he worked with a professional exhibition designer, Kate Richards. He selected the materials from the National Library of Australia collection in order to elucidate this complex figure, did the final cut and edit, wrote a series of detailed text panels in plain English (attached), liaised with the designers and media, spoke at the event and chaired the related Panel. Patrick White is considered perhaps the greatest Australian novelist, actively involved with the arts and, in later life, political activism. A series of recently discovered letters in the collection of NLA, as well as a facsimile MS, notebook, correspondence and photographic material, were selected and re-contextualized by McNeil in order to create new insights into White's creative process. McNeil sets a critical framework for interpreting the work of Patrick White through social and cultural theory and historical methods. McNeil's interpretive method has been developed over long standing work on his historical interpretation of cultural artefacts. The exhibition presented new Patrick White archival material interpreted by McNeil through a contemporary theoretical contextual framework.
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