Prospect Portrait Prize Finalists 2009

Please note: Due to the website structure, images may be distorted as they may have been re-scaled or cropped.

David Blaiklock - "Conehead"
Gouache/ Chromo mix scraper drawing, 50cm x 64cm



Conehead is a retrospective self portrait. It is a reflection on the contrast between stages of our lives. This piece epitomizes my carefree and reckless approach to life prior to my 'mature' awakening in the face of love and the wonderful responsibilities it brought.  It is a dedication to the insanity of youth.


Michael Bryant - "Fifteen Minutes of Fame"
Acrylic on canvas, 182cm x 121cm

Fifteen Minutes of Fame


I know the subject of this painting well; I have looked at this face for many years. The reason why I painted this portrait at this point are not clear, apart from the obvious availability of the model.

Throughout art history artists have created self-portraits;  they can be fundamentally commemorative or can be an attempt to exalt their standing in society. The latter I was well aware of when I placed my self-portrait into a gallery situation with interested viewers.  Ringing in my rather deaf ears are the written words of Andy Warhol with regards to my,  'fifteen minutes of fame'.


Katia Carletti - "Once when quiet didn't leave a buzz in your ears"
Oil on canvas on board, 67cm x 53cm

Once when quiet didn't leave a buzz in your ears


This work considers the concept of 'womb-hunting', a way of returning to a time of peace and safety. The space around the figure is representative of chaos looming, of madness and motion enveloping a life, and the fluttering feeling of change. In the midst of all this drama, the figure quietly contemplates the nest in her hands. This imagery is indicative of notions revolving around home, nurture, peace, delicacy and waiting, with the Kinder Surprise being both a humorous and nostalgic reminder of childhood innocence.



James Cochran - "Self Portrait Metro Dreaming"
Acrylic lacquer on canvas, 126cm x 96cm x 3cm

Self Portrait Metro Dreaming

This painting culminates from my experiences in Paris, when I was drawing from everyday experiences in the city and the metro. On most occasions I was the one observing and documenting through the painted image, but in this image I turn the gaze inwards, and by closing my eyes in the painting I not only impart a more voyeuristic gaze to the viewer, but allow for my own interior and subjective experience to be enhanced. I find that with the subject's eyes closed there is so much more intimacy and possibility for both the viewer and the subject in both the observed and imagined sense.

The interior colours of the train have been altered towards a green tonal range connected intuitively to my own dream state. Are the figures in the background real or imagined, like the image itself - an actual recollection or an imagined dream? A train evokes a departure and an arrival, and here I am in-between, within a transitory and delicate dream.

Annabelle Collett - "Portrait in Fabric"
Collaged textiles, embroidered text, 72.5cm x 52.5cm

Portrait in Fabric

The main concepts that inform my art are contained within the historic/symbolic significance of motif, the social/political meaning of pattern on textiles and the abstract overlaying relationships between fashion, visual art and design.

I usually incorporate fabric as my principal medium, but sometimes mosaic, metal and found objects. I apply many techniques to construct my work and utilises methods and skills from both art and craft arenas. I enjoy exploring the abstract coverings of and about the body through explorations of the outer semblances.  Most recently I collage printed fabrics as a pattern play of graphic juxtapositions or embellish forms with patterned coverings to create further meaning.

In the portrait for this exhibition I have cast a decorative eye over my profile, using my 'signature' colours of black and white that have become a distinctive feature in my personal wardrobe.

Narelle Cridland - "Yuk Leen Banded Krait"
Oil on canvas, 135cm x 135cm

Yuk Leen Banded Krait

The self portrait provides solitude and escapism as l document a concatenation of memories from my residence in the Asian destination Yuk Leen Villa, Hong Kong.  Yuk Leen Villa has released me from the security of my birth place, Melbourne Australia to a rich diversity of new cultures and traditions.  From this dislocation it has rendered me both physically and spiritually into a state of isolation, insecurity, vulnerability and alertness as l acknowledge and adapt to my new existence.  It is the acknowledgment and adaptations that occur in my personal life that harvest the substance of my self-portrait.

Ed Douglas - "Looking from the present toward the past and castle rock"
Gelatin silver photograph, 64cm x 53.5cm

Looking from the present toward the past and castle rock

This photograph was produced during a collaborative artist residency at Hill End, NSW with the artist, Ken Orchard.  We were both keenly interested in the 19th century artists and photographers who had worked in the Ophir and Hill End region from the initial 1851 gold rush.

Also of interest was Edward Hargraves who found the first "payable gold" at Ophir.  He had developed his skills during the 1849 gold rush in northern California - a similar landscape and very familiar to me.

During the artist residency I did several works that directly referenced some photographs by the Australians Merlin and Bayliss taken in the Hill End region circa 1872.  But on that early morning along the Turon River near Hill End I felt I was witness to one of the breathlessly still Yosemite Valley photographs of Carleton Watkins, along the Merced River, made from the mid 1800s in California.  The unnamed rock before me also reminded me of a similarly shaped rock that Watkins photographed in 1867 called "Castle Rock".

Standing beside my camera in the midst of introduced thistles I was reminded of an earlier time when the earth was not carrying 6 billion plus people and our human relationship with nature was in a healthier balance.

Jackson Eaton - "Self portrait with unshaven neck"
Giclee fine art print, 25cm x 19cm

Self Portrait with Unshaven Neck

It's about you and me. But mostly it's about me.

It's important to not tell any lies, although I can't say the truth doesn't often elude me. I don't care much for beauty, although I am often lured by its charming calls. I prefer the uncomfortableness in the everyday, the detachment in intimacy, the peculiar in the familiar, the threats in the for-granted. I prefer what's real, or just tucked behind it.

I'm chasing that image that suggests a story but doesn't simply tell it. That dot dot dot or station static. I was there, sure, but which one was I? I don't want to presume a vantage point, for alongside is how we travel in this murky chamber. We can hold hands but if you fall asleep I might take a moment.

Linzie Ellis - "Self portrait"
Ink on canvas, 120cmx 90cm

Self Portrait

Linzie Ellis's works explore the act of painting, the creative process, technique and materials.

Her work investigates the role of a painting, its place in contemporary art and art history and what potential painting has for change with the advances of technology?

As a result her work can be observed as expressions of the material qualities of paint; liquid, solid, three dimensional, two dimensional, textured, gloss, matte, transparent, opaque, controlled, uncontrolled etc.

Trudi Harley - "Self portrait with glasses"
Acrylic and oil on canvas, 91cm x 91cm

Self Portrait with glasses

My current body of work displays a series of portraits and self-portraits exploring the notion of 'esperpento'.  The term was invented by the Spanish playwright  Ramon Maria del Valle-Inclan as a description of his literary style. This may involve a distorted view of reality, the implementation of unusual viewpoints and/or the exaggeration of form. This particular self portrait, observed from below, addresses issues of conformity and challenges the viewer's notion of portraiture as an historical avenue for flattery.


Ignacio Rojas - "Hombre Imaginario"
Oil on linen, 118cm x 82cm

Hombre Imaginario

'Hombre imaginario' marks a very important point in my career as an artist as it was the first painting I did after I completed my post graduate studies in sociology.

Listening to people's stories and empowering diversity in our communities are some of my main interests as an artist and a sociologist. In both fields I work with migrants, their stories and their identities in Australia. In 'Hombre imaginario' (imaginary man) I wanted to show my own determination to continue my journey as a painter, my transnational identity and the on going process of defining oneself as a migrant  living between two places.

Gail Kellett - "Growing up - Gail"
Hand coloured (acylic) linoprint (AP), 105cm x 84cm

Growing Up - Gail

This is my first linocut self-portrait.

A few months ago, following the death of my mother I was given an old photo of my parents courting in Wellington Square. I decided to create a piece for my siblings to remember them.

This piece inspired me to begin a self-portrait. [Also I had just turned 50.]

I began reflecting about my life and through an intensely satisfying process I decided how I would approach my image as a linocut. I've always been a fan of Barbara Hanrahan's portraiture and felt a connection to her figurative linocuts and etchings.

I decided to create a piece that centralised my growing facial image within the important people, places and interests from throughout my life.

I began with the figures-
   the 4 year old kindy child,
   the 27 year old young adult
   and the present me of 50.

To highlight my faces I surrounded them with photos, in chronological order beginning from the bottom of the composition.

I then emphasized the focal point by cutting the lino into 3 connecting but separated pieces.

Once cut and printed I decided on my colour scheme. Since I am known for my use of bold hand painted colour, the central piece showed this, and then the connecting pieces were painted in softened, tinted hues.

I really enjoyed the entire process and am extremely happy with the result.

Sarah-Kate McWhinney - "Self as Rosie the Riveter"
Pencil, oil and acrylic on paper, 115cm x 75cm

Self Portrait as Rosie the Riverter

The classic image of Rosie the Riveter is considered both a cultural and feminist icon of the United States, representing the American women who worked in munitions factories during World War II. Her striking image was seen on posters and in film in order to encourage women to work on the assembly line and support the war effort. These women would take on male dominated trades during the conflict, but later expected to return to the role of the housewife when the men returned from war. J. Howard Miller's famous propaganda poster has been reprised in this self portrait, with the intention of representing female empowerment, rights and equality. This work demonstrates a  harmony of contrasts; vintage yet modern styling, courageous yet feminine persona, and a daring yet controlled narrative sensibility.

This portrait is a tribute to feminist progression throughout history and an visual representation of the artist's pride of being a woman. Although Rosie's image was first seen over 60 years ago, it is clear that her legacy is still relatable to to females of today. Women who demonstrate confidence, the power to form their own opinions, make their own choices and achieve their dreams.

Simone Maynard - "Food and desire - conflict 1"
Acrylic on canvas, 76cm x 104cm (diptych)

Food and Deisre - conflict 1

This piece is part of a body of work titled 'Food and Desire', and to me, these works tell more than just the story of my personal battle of wills. Each piece in the series explores the conflicting interests between the somewhat mundane necessity and creative passion, ( also a necessity), and how one must feed the other, as well as the frustration along the way - the 'fight' to create.

This piece visually narrates the conflict of my everyday world and the means in which I need to meet to be able to paint, as well as the NEED to paint. It also explores the mysteries and emotions of the, (my), two personas involved in this ongoing conflict.

Peter Murdoch - "A Wash with Thoughts"
Pencil on paper, 26cm x 20cm

A Wash with Thoughts

Awash with thoughts cleansing the unsettled mind reflecting on realities warts and all we are staring in the face of our own making


Tom Phillips - "Self portrait"
Oil on canvas, 156cm x 136cm

Self Portrait

I see myself as a true visual poet and political commentator. I have always been interested in human behavior and its impact on society. In other words I am interested in the struggles of human beings within our society.

In this current self-portrait, the idea comes from the 19th century self-portraits, where the artist is standing in front of their own self-portrait. I decided to make this idea more contemporary. By putting myself in the suburbs and standing in front of my own subject matter.

This self portrait has given me the chance to continue talking about and investigating our modern life, along with the issues of living within our post industrial cities. I try to understand what this means and how this influences me, furthermore how it influences others. As a consequence of this I generally produce hard-hitting images in order to confront and encourage strong emotional responses from the viewers.

Lee Salomone - "Self-Less Self"
Colour C Photograph, metal hair brush, 26cm x 9cm x 4cm

Self-Less Self

Incorporating recycled & discarded materials into my art seems natural as I was surrounded by the practice of thrift as a child - my rural Italian grandparents raised me. They were makers of necessity; they used what was at hand, to create what was needed. I have carried this process into my art practice. I enjoy working with the associated meaning that the found object can add. I believe the use of recycled & discarded materials has just as much validity as marble, bronze, or metal - in fact, it is more of our time.

Self-less self is a self-portrait stripped back to its simplest - a photograph and a frame. The hairbrush is integral - it is a beautiful & functional frame, while conveying a human presence and absence. Self-less self is the first image from a new series of works that utilises my body as a canvas and my body hair as media. Each piece is shot on location where a helper sculpts into my body hair. A special thanks to Annabelle Collett for her assistance in Self-less self.

Jasmine Symons - "The Dress "
Mixed media (my nanna's original 1950's house dress, moulded and painted), 152cm x 68cm x 25cm

The Dress

The Dress
(salvaged from the flotsam and jetsam of Nana's house)

The artist and the housewife

Fought over a dress

One wanted to wear it

It caused the other one stress


There began years of slanderous exchange

The weirdo eccentric lacking in shame

Blaming the uptight conformist

So pathetically lame


In resolution, compromise,

Submission or all

The dress is now destined

For life on a wall                                                                    

Melanie Thewlis - "Self portrait at six differing scales of magnification"
Animation/video, 5min 30secs

Self Portrait

Click here to access full video clip of "Self Portrait at six differing scales of magnification".

'Self Portrait at Six Differing Levels of Magnification' attempts to integrate scientific findings with the subjective nature of the human condition.  I approach self portraiture by treating myself as if I were under a microscope.  Looking through a lens, I am revealed at six levels, from that of the smallest particle, through to the atomic, molecular, cellular, anatomical and finally human scales. 

I focus on the cells and molecules of the eye, as this organ is crucial to the work and identity of an artist.  I wanted to use our scientific understanding of the body to illuminate that we appear very different at different scales; that our human, relationship determined world is just one level of our existence; and that each of us is something of a walking miracle, containing a tiny universe.

I created this work using stop frame animation on Super 8 film to bring a large scale oil painting to life.  I hoped to simulate the feel of an inquiring scientist peering down the barrel of a microscope.  This work reflects my belief that the work of an artist is like that of a scientist - ongoing experimentation punctuated by flashes of inspiration, and that both draw us closer to new truths about our world and our lives.                                                                                                    

Tahlia Wignall - "From Big Things"
Pencil on paper, 75cm x 106cm

From Big Things


Through self portraiture, Talia Wignall creates imaginative reconstructions of her own persona through drawing with abstract references to landscape and place within her environment. Talia questions the archetype versus the individual; challenging our commonly held expectations as to what degree the true character of the subject can be captured, unsettling our secure realities.


Trevor Wren - "Forge"
Mounted digital print, 12cm x 15cm



I like to tell stories of places and histories and the inextricable relationship between Australia's environmental identity and its Indigenous cultures and natural ecosystems. I often comment on the continued post colonial suppression and destruction of them both - investigating ideas surrounding the memory of space...



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