The Australian art industry's most talked about face for 2017 has been revealed, with the announcement of this year's Archibald Prize. This year's winner is Camden artist Mitch Cairns, who painted a stunning portrait of artist (and Cairns' partner) Agatha Gothe-Snape. He'll receive a cheeky cash prize $100,000 and bragging rights for life — and hey, when you've been shortlisted in the Archibald Prize four times already, you're already there.
The subject of the portrait, Gothe-Snape is a celebrated artist in her own right, exhibiting at the 20th Biennale of Sydney and recently opening a solo exhibition at Tokyo's Mori Art Museum — a first for an Aussie artist. Her work constantly engages with the way the public engages with contemporary art, how we read it, understand it, and debate it.
"In this painting, Agatha is both an active subject and a recalcitrant muse embracing and resisting simultaneously any idea of what it is to be fixed. Ultimately this is what is most attractive about Agatha. She embodies an uncompromising agency whilst having the grace to accept the ready complications inherent within our life as artists," says Cairns. "I composed this portrait with love in the full knowledge of its inevitable and palpable quake."
Here's the work in full:
South Australia's Betty Kuntiwa Pumani is the winner of the 2017 Wynne Prize with her striking ode to her mother country, and Joan Ross is the winner of the 2017 Sulman Prize for her mixed media work Oh history, you lied to me.
See the Archibald, Wynne and Sulman Prize exhibition, including Mitch Cairns' winning work, at the Art Gallery of New South Wales from July 29 to October 22. More info here.