How very timely to be presenting a portrait/figurative exhibition around the same time as the biggest Portrait Prize in Australia is being judged ~ The Archibald Prize. And while many Australian artists know their fate, the winner is still to be announced TODAY, Friday 15 July.
Portrait painting is a difficult genre to tackle, not only do you have to navigate the physical likeness of your subject but you also have to be sensitive to your subject's sense of what they look like.
I've been the subject of a couple of portraits in the last few years and it's just as hard to be 'the subject', it requires patience and the ability not to move around (both of which I lack). The most enjoyable part is getting to know the artist as they paint/draw you. The best Portrait paintings become as much a physical representation of the person while also capturing their personality.
Figurative painting and drawing, in my opinion is far more challenging. The subject/s of a good figurative painting need to be captivating while also blending seamlessly into the overall painting. Think the figurative paintings by Australian artists Russell Drysdale and Sidney Nolan.
Get in quick to "The Subject" at Gallery 139 as it ends tomorrow, Saturday 16 July. If you haven't already got plans come along to the live 1 hr portrait demonstration by Pablo Tapia from 10am in the gallery.
~ Ahn Wells