• Fiona Prior

2017 Archibald Prize

2017 Archibald Prize It is here again. The time when, for varied reasons, an Australian artist is crowned Archibald Prize winner. By now, Australia knows that Mitch Cairns' portrait of his wife Agatha Gothe-Snape, took out the Gold Logie.

image: courtesy of the artist and AGNSW

Personal favourite was the image of (Go-Between) Robert Forster by artist What. Vivid, primary-hued and oh, so effortlessly cool in its artful artlessness, I realised that I am very much an 80’s chick.

image: courtesy of the artist and AGNSW

As far as my pick of a winner, had I been a judge I would have awarded Jun Chen’s Ray Hughes. Hughes, recently retired and highly influential gallery owner is a major figure in Australia’s art landscape. A big, bearded bear of a man now in his seventies Hughes has the sort of bigger-than-life reputation and physical presence that makes him a painter or sculptor’s voluminous dream. Chen has captured Hughes seated in a wheel-chair and looking out from the canvas with those sharply intelligent eyes that anyone who has met the man will recognise immediately.

image: courtesy of the artist and AGNSW

The Packers Prize, an institution of the Archibald almost as anticipated as the winning portrait, was taken out by Peter Smeeth’s portrait of Lisa Wilkinson AM. Wouldn’t it have have been grand if the recently retired (after 34 years) AGNSW’s Head Packer Steve Peter’s portrait Finished packing had received the Packers Prize?

image: courtesy of the artist and AGNSW

And which work will take out the Peoples Choice award this year? My money is on that multi-talented Anh Do’s portrait of Jack Charles JC, for many and varied reasons.

image: courtesy of the artist and AGNSW

The Archibald Art Gallery of NSW until 22 October 2017

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