Kathryn Longhurst’s Archibald portrait of Kate Ceberano

The first painting I wish to talk about from the Archibald is entitled “Kate” a painting of singer Kate Ceberano by Kathryn Longhurst. It won the Packing Room prize and was used to promote the Archibald competition.

The symmetrical framing of Ceberano’s face and positioning of the artist below her is not designed to be flattering. The subject is glaring out at the viewer as if she had been insulted. In the foreground, there is a jumble of fingers, in contrast to the symmetry of the face. It’s as if, Ceberano is making up her mind on some judgement about the viewer. It’s not likely to be pleasant.

The portrait is a strong, almost confrontational, presentation of the subject. It’s a contrast to the persona that Ceberano presents to the media.

It raises the question question of the relationship between the artist and the subject and the extent to which the subject can influence the final product.

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