Wonderful discussion of the social changes to portrait photography. The artists discuss how portraits were once only done of wealthy and distinguished people, implying that it began as a class exercise. It has more recently developed into an art form that can convey ordinary people from diverse walks of life.

Ben Quilty Margaret Olley.
2011 Archibald Prize Winner. Ben Quilty says of Olley:

She was a feminist ahead of her time. She’s vigorously passionate about social and political issues, as well as art, and is enormously compassionate. Margaret has such an infectious attitude to both life and death. Recently, I was amazed at how many new works she had on the go. She said to me, “I’m like an old tree dying and setting forth flowers as fast as it can, while it still can”. I thought that was such a powerful metaphor.

Regarding the bright palette used in this portrait of Ollen:

You just need to walk into her home, which is also her studio, to see that you couldn’t use anything but striking colour. It’s full of translucent works-in-progress, beautiful drawings, sculptures and flowers, so I wanted the portrait to reflect that.

Source:Art Gallery of NSW via zeezeescorner. High-res

Ben Quilty Margaret Olley.

2011 Archibald Prize Winner. Ben Quilty says of Olley:

She was a feminist ahead of her time. She’s vigorously passionate about social and political issues, as well as art, and is enormously compassionate. Margaret has such an infectious attitude to both life and death. Recently, I was amazed at how many new works she had on the go. She said to me, “I’m like an old tree dying and setting forth flowers as fast as it can, while it still can”. I thought that was such a powerful metaphor.


Regarding the bright palette used in this portrait of Ollen:

You just need to walk into her home, which is also her studio, to see that you couldn’t use anything but striking colour. It’s full of translucent works-in-progress, beautiful drawings, sculptures and flowers, so I wanted the portrait to reflect that.

Source:Art Gallery of NSW via zeezeescorner.