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2018 Archibald Portraiture Prize $100,000

dencaldencal -
edited May 2018 in General Discussion

Here are the finalists for this year in Australia’s major Portraiture Prize.

Time to pick a winner.

here is my choice.

oil on linen
192 x 192 cm
Further information

Anne Middleton has long been fascinated by Guy Pearce’s gaze. ‘I see profound depth of emotion and some sadness in Guy’s eyes, however, his gaze is direct and bold. It was this curious melding of uncompromising determination and a certain boyish sweetness that led me to ask if I could paint his portrait,’ she says.

‘In person, Guy is disarmingly approachable. Born in the same year (1967), and with a shared love of living in Melbourne, we chatted about all manner of things. My portrait of Guy was inspired by early photographic portraits of Indigenous people using tintype photography, the otherworldly translucency of skin it imparts and the compelling directness of an unselfconscious gaze,’ says Middleton.

‘I painted Guy in the natural light of my studio. One side of his face is in deep shadow. Obscure and mysterious, it speaks of hidden, difficult times. The other side is brilliantly lit. It is an uncompromising light, honest and unflinching. This extreme tonality enabled me to explore Guy’s chameleon nature and his personal awareness of the light and dark within that makes him both an extraordinary actor and a kind, funny and unassuming bloke.’

Middleton is the daughter of artist Max Middleton. This is her first time in the Archibald Prize.




  • edited May 2018
    Wow 2mts !! One day I would like to do something that big!  I think somehow it will be easier to put a lot of details, and when u look at it from life u need to step far from it, and should appear a lot more detailed. Like watching at a normal paint from 3/4 meters. Said that, it's a awesome portrait and she deserved to be in final :)
  • Actually I had a look at the others, she deserves to win!
  • Here's mine

    Only because I now know where Mr. Hankey came from. 
    I wonder where Cartman and Kenny are?
  • Personally I was pretty impressed by this self portrait of the artist. 
  • Speaking (L.A.) Confidentially, I'd pick Guy too. there are only a few there I would deem worthy of being a finalist. but some would make good album covers or refrigerator magnets. I guess I'm just too traditional. As for Middleton, I'd say she paints extremely well when the subject is something she loves.
  • My choice

    “Peter Berner is a graduate of the National Art School, where he majored in painting. He is also a well-known stand-up comedian. He has hosted and written television programs, co-hosted radio shows, and works as a corporate entertainer, cartoonist and artist. This is his first time in the Archibald Prize.

    ‘A self-portrait allows me to sidestep the awkwardness of having a sitter who secretly feels the painting sucks but doesn’t want to hurt the artist’s feelings by saying so. I’ve hurt my own feelings many times, so I’m used to it,’ he says. 

    ‘Also, I have spent a long time critically evaluating the person I see in the mirror each day, and I think this work speaks to that ongoing interrogation. It may also reflect the broader, current conversation asking men to examine their history and place honestly and critically. This would explain my anxious, unsettled expression.’

    Berner painted directly onto unprimed plywood. ‘I made the frame, which reveals some highly suspect carpentry skills,’ he says. ‘I wanted the piece to appear raw, immediate and “unfinished”.”

  • Folks

    ...and the winner is...

    Yvette Coppersmith

    Self-portrait, after George Lambert
    oil and acrylic on linen
    132 x 112 cm
    Further information

    Over the past 21 years, Yvette Coppersmith has experimented widely with style and subject matter but she keeps returning to the self-portrait. ‘It allows me to work from life, with intense absorption in the painting process,’ she says.

    George Lambert (1873–1930) is one of her favourite artists. ‘His style was academic, yet he supported the avant-garde in Australia and painted portraits of his artistic contemporaries Thea Proctor and Hera Roberts – both independent, self-possessed style-makers at a time of burgeoning female empowerment,’ she says. ‘In referencing George Lambert’s style, it’s like an outfit slipped on, creating a fixed image of an ever-changing self.’

    This is the fifth painting Coppersmith has had in the Archibald Prize. Before starting it, she asked to paint the prime minister of New Zealand, Jacinda Ardern. ‘Ardern wasn’t available but I thought I might channel something of her in my self-portrait,’ says Coppersmith. 

    ‘I had several reasons for asking Jacinda Ardern, but through her role she expands what an image of a young woman can signify – inspiring others to think beyond any perceived limits of their own image in relation to the contemporary political landscape.’


  • In my opinion, if Ms Coppersmith's bio said, "worked as business analyst for 19 years then picked up a paintbrush as a hobby a year ago", there's zero chance she'd have even made the list. Zero. Art prizes like this are total BS - it's a private members club.
  • Putting aside the politics of the art world, this is my choice:

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