Transcending standard notions of portraiture
“PORTRAIT23: Id” is the Nationwide Portrait Gallery’s latest exhibition, marking the establishment’s third decade.
In it, 23 Australian artists and collectives have been invited to create new works that increase on and transcend standard notions of portraiture.
At Thursday’s media launch, Sandra Bruce, NPG director of assortment and exhibitions, mentioned that when donor Tim Fairfax agreed to again the exhibition, he challenged the gallery’s curators “to do one thing thrilling“.
The outcome was an exploration, she mentioned, of the place up to date artwork practices might intersect or collide with portraiture and that the artists commissioned had risen to the problem.
To make certain, a few of them are well-known artists to be featured within the Archibald and Darling portrait prizes, however others who wouldn’t think about themselves to be portraitists expressed themselves in sculptural installations sculptural and ephemeral installations, a few of them exterior the gallery, taking, Bruce mentioned, “overt figures to covertly conceptual”.
Two large-scale new works shall be seen on the gallery’s exterior – a floating double-portrait by road artist Child Guerrilla on the NPG’s exterior cantilevered architectural function on the entrance, and Alison Alder’s monumental screen-printed poster sequence “Some Ladies you Might Not Know” will take over one facet of the forecourt.
Throughout a walk-though, a number of contrasting “portraits” caught my eye.
Taryn Gill’s work “Limber”, an “obstructed, multi limbed” self-portrait, explores psychoanalytic concepts and entails the artist’s private historical past and aggressive dance and calisthenics.
Three-dimensional portraits of group are seen in sculptures made with recycled woollen blankets, wool, cotton and feathers made by Yarrenyty Arltere artists in 2022.
“Completely happy Australian”, by Thai-born artist, Viploo Srivilasa, blends European historic collectible figurines, Asian ornamental practices and up to date tradition to discover and cross cultural and migration experiences.
And Abdul Abdullah’s “Watched however not seen and surveilled“ explores his Muslim/Malay/Indonesian and convict/settler Australian heritage by his imagined “were-tiger” folks of folklore who have been shapeshifters and have become tigers.
“I do know there shall be energetic debate,” Bruce mentioned, “however it can get us speaking about how portraiture has developed.”
“Portrait23: Id”, Nationwide Portrait Gallery, till June 18.
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Ian Meikle, editor