Thursday, October 16, 2014

Is it a self portrait of a still life?

Mornington Peninsular Regional GalleryIn a very popular move the Archibald Prize finalists are being toured around some regional galleries giving more the opportunity to see the original paintings. This year for a second year running they are currently being displayed at the Mornington Peninsula Regional Gallery.

One painting I liked is Peter Churcher’s quirky ”Four self-portraits in a bunch of balloons”. It is both vibrant and fun yet deeply detailed in an MC Escheresque manner. What caught my attention was the replicated reflections, the self portraits. In many ways it bought home my attempts to get a “floating” selfportrait onto my stainless steal espresso cup, for my patch entry last week. The question asked in the accompanying note for this painting being so relevant. “Is it a self portrait or a still life?”

Before photography any artist wanting to make a self portrait had to resort to a mirror (and therefore the resulting portrait will be back to front). A few brave artists, and MC Escher is a prominent one of them, dared to include reference in their painting and illustrations that they were indeed looking at reflections.  Thus I think it is cleverly both.

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