2023 > Misc

Self portrait after MD 2
Self portrait after MD 2
Oil on linen
40.6cm x 51cm

Archibald Prize 2023 finalist

A through-line in my practice is exploring the tension between the perception of a person or community, and the reality of their lived experience. In 2022 I saw Marlene Dumas’ exhibition Open End at Palazzo Grassi in Venice. I was particularly taken by the familiarity and playfulness of her 2018 painting ‘iPhone’ that depicts what I assume are her own hands holding a blank phone, with a simple yellowish/cream foreground and dark background. When I went to take a photo of the work with my own phone, I was a little surprised by my own reflection - an unintended glimpse at myself in the dark screen. I wasn’t smiling at the camera or projecting how I hoped to be seen. I was just there; neutral and messy.

In that moment in the museum, I was briefly caught in a loop of my hands mirroring hers; an analogue reflection being caught in a digital device, capturing an analogue painting of a digital device. So much of my engagement with the outside world comes through such devices on platforms designed to edit, embellish and filter how we are seen, but then the screen was off, and I saw myself.