Archibald Prize Finalist - 2015
On exhibition from July 18 - September 27
The Art Gallery of New South Wales announced the finalists for the 2015 Archibald Prize today and my painting Luke, 2015, was among those selected for exhibition. Luke is a portrait of Wagga Wagga's own Luke Grealy. Well known in the community, Luke is the Manager of the Museum of the Riverina, the region's social history museum. Luke has been amazing to my wife and I since we moved to Wagga, having us round for dinner regularly and even sourcing an amazingly hospitable refuge for us when the city was evacuated during the 2012 flood. When I took the work to the courier to be sent to the Art Gallery of New South Wales the courier asked who I'd painted. I said "Luke Grealy, d'you know him?" and he said "Oh yeah!" I'm so glad that Luke will be among the distinguished Australians on show in this year's Archibald Prize.
Luke is the most ambitious painting I've completed to date, both in terms of scale and technique. It was the culminating work of my PhD research into contemporary portraiture and was the apex of my recent exhibition STAY, which was held at Wagga Wagga Art Gallery earlier this year. If you'd like to know more about how it was painted you can read a recent interview with the ABC about the pedantic colour study I undertook to transfer it from the pixel to the pigment on canvas.
This is the first time I've been selected for the Archibald Prize and it's also the first time my work will have been shown in the prestigious space that is the Art Gallery of New South Wales. It's a huge career milestone to be included in this institution that is so close to the heart of the Australian artworld and at the same time gives me the opportunity to test my work in front of a huge audience among some of Australia's best contemporary painters.
Being included in exhibitions such as these is humbling and at the same time it's so encouraging. Last year my work Dr Doris McIlwain (Ouroboric #2), 2014, was selected for exhibition in the Archibald's Salon des Refusés where it was shown at the S.H.Ervin Gallery. It was hung in the company of great Aussie painters including the legendary Jenny Sages, David Fairbairn, Leslie Rice, Nicholas Harding and others. Having looked at the other finalists for this year's Archies is no exception. Being in a show with artists like Richard Bell, Sophia Hewson, Andrew Sayers, Mitch Cairns and Prudence Flint gives me even more confidence in my work and the opportunity to see how it stacks up.
Thank you to Luke Grealy and his wife Moyra for inviting me into their homes to do the sittings and a big thanks to my wife Sonya to insisting I submit the work into the prize. If you'd like to see the other finalists just head to the Archibald Prize Finalists page. The winner of the prize will be announced next Friday July 17.
Wish me luck!