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ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT

Marathon Portrait Painter Finally Unveils Six Years of Work in Huge Exhibition

Holden at one point painted nearly 600 portraits in a little over a month.
By Laetitia Laubscher
July 10, 2018
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Marathon Portrait Painter Finally Unveils Six Years of Work in Huge Exhibition

Holden at one point painted nearly 600 portraits in a little over a month.
By Laetitia Laubscher
July 10, 2018
  shares

Julia Holden's six year-long portrait painting marathon is finally seeing the light of day in her new exhibition Performance Painting at the New Zealand Portrait Gallery in Wellington.

At one point during the six years, Holden painted nearly 600 portraits in a little over a month. The exhibition includes half a dozen projects in total, and aims to stretch "our perceptions of what a painting can be, and what a portrait can be."

38 Days, for example, captures musician Delaney Davidson as he shaves in front of the camera attached to her computer. Holden would then paint particular poses and expressions from Davidson on a board, photograph what she painted and then wipe her board clean and start again.

In another series, Performance Painting, she decided to not actually paint her subjects but just literally paint on them. She would cover her subjects in paint, remodel their hair out of clay and then just take a photo of them. The entire process took about half an hour to an hour of prep work. The shoot itself would be a quick one, with the heavy paint and clay starting to slip soon after they've been applied to the subjects.

Performance Painting is on display at the New Zealand Portrait Gallery until July 22.

Published on July 10, 2018 by Laetitia Laubscher

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