Lewis Miller Deborah Conway oil on linen 137.5 x 122 cm
The Archibald Prize for portrait painting is the country’s favourite and most significant art award. Since 1921, it has highlighted figures from all walks of life, from famous faces to local heroes, reflecting back to us the stories of our times.
The Wynne Prize is awarded to the best landscape painting of Australian scenery, or figure sculpture, while the Sulman Prize is given to the best subject painting, genre painting or mural project in oil, acrylic, watercolour or mixed media.
Each year, the trustees of the Art Gallery of NSW judge the Archibald and Wynne, and invite an artist to judge the Sulman.
Click here to read more about the exhibition and to visit the Archibald, Wynne and Sulman Prizes at Art Gallery of NSW.
14 May – 28 August 2022
Art Gallery of NSW
In late 2021, at a function in Melbourne, artist Lewis Miller and singer-songwriter Deborah Conway found themselves discussing portraiture;
‘She casually suggested that I might paint her for the Archibald Prize. Up to that point, I hadn’t seriously considered entering this year,’ says Miller, who has been an Archibald finalist on 17 previous occasions, and won the prize in 1998 with a portrait of artist Allan Mitelman.
‘Deborah is a talented, thoughtful and strong woman who continues her amazing career in Australian music. I knew she’d been the subject of three Archibald paintings in the past, but I said I’d do it on the condition that it be painted solely from live sittings. She kindly agreed and gave me four sittings, with a break of four weeks between the first and second because of her touring commitments.
‘I am never happy working from photographs or digital images, so I painted the portrait completely from life,’ says Lewis. ‘The pose was decided by Deborah, with me offering a green milk crate and a cushion as a seat. I was surprised at how architectural the milk crate turned out to be.’
Rodney Pople Dairy country oil on linen 141.2 x 181.5 cm
‘Displaced from her African home, a lonely zebra seeks refuge on an Australian dairy farm.’ – Rodney Pople, 2022