Peter Wegner – Before Hand – The private life of a portrait

In News December 15, 2020

This wonderful portrait of Professor Graeme Clark by Peter Wegner is now showing in the exhibition Before Hand – The private life of a portrait at the National Portrait Gallery in Canberra.

The exhibition reveals the backstories behind iconic works from the NPG collection and the creative and social process of making a portrait. Before hand features interviews with artists and sitters as well as rarely seen working drawings, scrapbooks, sketches and footage taken in artists’ studios and out on location.

‘Peter Wegner loves the act of painting portraits; its highly charged character. He always paints from life. With his oil painted portraits, often taking six to eight sittings, there is much physical movement and conversational exchange. His method is to go straight in with the paint. Wegner does no preparatory drawing or sketches. The image is built up entirely with tone and colour. He makes a judgement, he makes a mark. As Robert Nelson perceptively writes: [t]he rhythms of observation and construction are not just rough but anti-smooth, as if the searching and grabbing of eye and hand want to celebrate mottled things, objects or beings with episodic surfaces and eventful histories’. – Katherine Russell, 2017

Exhibition current until Sunday 14 February 2021. For more information click here.