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visitors since May 12, 2002
February 3, 2002
Four feet of head

Went with Cheek to the Archibald Prize exhibition the other night, and found myself standing in a room with thirty portraits.

Something I never noticed before about portraiture is that the eye level of the painting makes a difference. If the subject's eyes were, say, seven or more feet above the floor, I had to control sudden attacks of fear and a desire to run away. This is one of the drawbacks of having a vivid imagination. But if the subject's eyes were below my own eye level the painting somehow seemed insubstantial, as if it were - forgive the pun - beneath me. Strange.

An overwhelming majority of the paintings were of other artists, or of people closely related to the art world, such as gallery owners and art critics. This seemed unnecessarily self-referential, and it also meant that I particularly appreciated the paintings that were exceptions to this, especially those of Peter Carey, Lee Lin Shin and Roy and HG.

The scariest painting was of silverchair's Daniel Johns. It was a bit more than four feet high, and it only shows Daniel Johns' head. So you're looking at a four foot high head. According to ancient tradition, that's a hell of a lot of head. I found the most comfortable distance to look at it was from about half a mile away. I asked the security staff to move the painting out to St. Kilda Road for just this reason, and they were astonishingly unhelpful.

     Posted by Sean Hegarty at 12:07 AM in the Reviews category | Comments (0)
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