Bright stars in the Archibald firmament

I went up to AGNSW recently to check out the annual Archibald, Wynne and Sulman prizes. As always, there was much to enjoy, as well as some that maybe didn’t truly deserve to be there.

PORTRAIT OF TIM BONYHADY

Andrew Sayers, Portrait of Tim Bonyhady, oil on canvas, 100 x 75cm

Andrew Sayers’ piece was an understated charmer. I enjoyed the tight little triangle of composition and the no-fuss content. The downward pointing finger was marvellous.

I wasn’t wild about Nigel Milsom’s winning portrait of Charles Waterstreet, Judo House pt 6 (the white bird.) I enjoyed the pattern of his sewn-up mouth; his collar and the repetition of the motif in his monster hands; his diagonal line of buttons. The surface though, especially as the eye travels down the canvas, seemed too flat; too thin. I didn’t find it satisfying to spend time with.

MILSOM, NIGEL_JUDO HOUSE #6

Nigel Milsom, Judo House pt 6 (the white bird), oil on canvas, 232 x 190cm

 

Jeremy Kibel’s mixed-media portrait of Dr Dick Kwan was surprisingly interesting to examine. Multiple collage elements, a bright red horizontal at the top and blue around the other 3 edges along with the economical, stencil-style description of the head. A variety of surfaces made this an enjoyable work.

KIBEL, JEREMY_PORTRAIT OF DOCTOR DICK KWAN

 

Kerry McInnis’s portrait of Omar Musa was characterised by qualities I’ve come to expect – understated, beautifully observed and not at all laboured. It got my vote in the end. She’s a consistent performer, though her work perhaps lacks the sense of spectacle that many Archibald winners possess. I’d like to see her make it one year though.

MCINNES, KERRY_OMAR MUSA POET OF UNEASE

Kerry McInnis, Omar Musa, poetry of unease, 230 x 165.9cm