My Archibald 2016 (and Wynne & Sulman)

My favourite painting at the exhibition currently hanging at the Art Gallery of NSW is Craig Handley’s “The Banker”.

Craig Handley
Craig Handley’s “The Banker”

The house is as quintessentially Australian as those in Robyn Sweaney’s paintings but in Sweaney’s work the attention to detail, deserted scenes and lead skies convey a calm that is absent in Handely’s image. Here, the fading acquarello jade tones, cliff divers and dodgy house stilt conjure an image of precarious fun that beautifully captures the current Australian psyche.

My favourite work at the Sulman is Craig Loxley’s “Exodus”.

Craig Loxley’s “Exodus”

I love the snake skin effect of the pattern that only at close inspection reveals the individual tent components of the “scales” of a refugee camp so big it bleeds off the canvas.

Nick Stathopolous’ “Deng” is my favourite Archibald entry.

Nick Stathopoulos’ “Deng”

Nick Stathopoulos’s “Deng”

I find it impossible to go past Stathopoulos’ hyper real technique, skin details, the sitter’s gaze. The “lens distortion”, trademark unfinished outfit and framing all contribute to an arresting result.

I also really enjoyed Melissa Ritchie’s “Rhys smart mouth”

Melissa Ritchie’s “Rhys smart mouth”

The matchbox double portrait, red theme, theatrical light, pose and costume just work.

Other paintings I like from the Wynne are:

Steve Gough’s “Bush Zero, Darwin River”

Steve Gough’s “Bush Zero, Darwin River”

For its pink sky, beautiful bush and stubborn marooned litter.

Yukultji Napangati’s “Untitled”

Yukultji Napangati’s “Untitled”

For the woven waviness of the image

Max Miller’s “The mountain and me”

Max Miller’s “The mountain and me”

Because anyone who paints with egg yolk on gold leaf ought to get my vote.

And Peter Gardiner’s “North/black lung”

Peter Gardiner
Peter Gardiner’s “North/black lung”

Again for a depiction of the Australian bush that struck a cord.

Maurizio Viani


(*) All images courtesy of the Art Gallery of NSW’s website: http://www.artgallery.nsw.gov.au