Culture Buff

Culture buff

23 August 2014

9:00 AM

23 August 2014

9:00 AM

I was hung once, in the Archibald, that is. Paul Newton, having been commissioned to paint me by the ABC, entered the resulting portrait in the Archibald Prize of 2008. That’s when I got nervous. It was an excellent painting because Paul is an accomplished and insightful portraitist so if it wasn’t chosen to be hung it would be because I, as the subject, was not interesting enough. Being in the Salon des Refuses would not be adequate compensation. It didn’t win; the prize that year went to Del Kathryn Barton for her self- portrait with her children which, surprisingly to me, turned out to be a controversial choice. But we did get hung.

No controversy about this year’s winner which is Fiona Lowry’s portrait of Penelope Seidler. It is a beautiful and perceptive portrait of an interesting and much admired person. Indeed there is a lot to like in this year’s Archibald show (on until 28 September). The Packing Room Prize went, not unjustly, to Tim Storrier’s The Member, Dr Sir Leslie Colin Patterson KCB AO. My grandson and I were both drawn to Peter Churcher’s Four self-portraits in a bunch of balloons and especially to Anh Do’s Father. Ben was keen on James Powditch’s imaginary poster Citizen Kave. A promising work was Eliza Cameron’s Nice shootin’ cowboy. Paul Newton is a finalist for the 11th time with a distinguished work Portrait of Frank Lowy AC. Happily there is less ugliness and silliness than in some prior years.

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