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Justin Paton is one of New Zealand's foremost art writers and a contributor to many international publications. His books and art catalogues include those on artists Julia Morison, Jeffrey Harris, Ronnie van Hout, Ricky Swallow, Jude Rae, Michael Parekowhai and Laurence Aberhart. He is senior curator at Christchurch Art Gallery. How to Look at a Painting was the winner of the Montana New Zealand Book Award 2006 in the Lifestyle and Contemporary Culture Category.
"Should be compulsory reading. A cultural exploration that deserves to become a classic." --Christopher Moore, author, "Fluke" "Paton's purpose is to rekindle the energy generated by paintings, today too often upstaged by technology and obfuscated by "artspeak." "How to Look at a Painting" is . . . an informed book and a stimulating one. Reading it while visiting galleries in Britain and the American East Coast, I found that it challenged me to look more intensely." --Elizabeth Rankin, "The Art Book" "Nothing gets between Paton and a painting . . . a lively and sensual stylist with a knack for making you feel his enthusiasms." --"New Zealand Listener" "An exhilarating read. Among swarms of implacably obtuse art scribblers, Paton shines like a lighthouse in the dark." --John Coley, "The Press" "A terrific book, amusing, clever, insightful, generous-spirited and genuinely helpful." --Margo White, "Metro books" editor "Paton presents paintings as personable and responsive objects . . . able to both draw viewers in and push them away . . . Elegant, accessible and endlessly thought-provoking." --Richard Wolfe, "Art New Zealand" "Conversational, anecdotal, informative and often humorous . . . Paton encourages us to stand still long enough to read the body language of a painting." --Sally Blundell, "Art News" "In this absorbing book, painting is revealed as a harbour of memories, connection with deep realities--and a source of satisfaction and fun for painter and viewer alike." --Michael Smither, painter