Friday, March 07, 2008

I Am What is Most Beautiful About You, Me and Everyone We Know

Del Kathryn Barton
You are what is most beautiful about me,
a self portrait with Kell and Arella
, 2008
Courtesy the Kids

The Artswipe has finally been accepted as a fully fledged member of "the media". With media pass in hand, I made my way into the Archibald Media Launch this afternoon. The adrenalin was pumping because I really was in the presence of true artistic greatness. Either that or I had finally realised my life-long dream of becoming a carnie and running away with the circus.

Wandering around the Art Gallery of NSW I made my choice for winner: Joanna Braithwaite's Chook Chook Chook. I just figure that a woman surrounded by chooks is a likely winner. It's got that certain post-feminist joie de vivre and it's often on this guiding principal that I base my aesthetics judgements.

As March does not have such a strong record for delivering psychic energy to The Artswipe, I am certainly glad I didn't bet too much dosh on an Archibald winner because in a word "chook lady" was, well, how do you say "loser" without sounding too mean? Like everything else that didn't win, Chook Chook Chook should be spit-roasted so the masses can roast marshmallows amidst the pungent aroma of burning chicken fat.

So what won? According to the top brass of the AGNSW trustees, it was narrowed down to two and he stressed that this was strictly in alphabetical order: Del Kathryn Barton for You are what is most beautiful about me, a self portrait with Kell and Arella and Vincent Fantauzzo for Heath.

Winners know all about alphabetical order, so of course Del Kathryn Barton won for her self portrait with kids. Now that I am officially sanctioned as media, I admire officially sanctioned winners. More so, I admire that Barton has made a painting that looks like all of her other paintings - how very postmodern of her. Even more postmodern are those hippy-chick dreadlocks sprouting from her head. If not for that, she deserves the award for negotiating sensible designer eyewear in relation to the trademark bug-eyes we have come to know and love. Good on Del Kathryn Barton for shirking celebrity and painting the nuclear family sans dad. I admire that she blames her kids for her beauty - my mother blames me for her stretch marks - but hey, my mum's a bitch and not a very good painter to boot.

Barton accepted her award with a modest speech, thanking the kids and letting us know that You are what is most beautiful about me, a self portrait with Kell and Arella is particularly special because apart from having a really long title, it's a painting she does not associate with the commercial side of her practice. As it only earned her a prize of $50,000 it's probably a bit "povvo". Just as well the Archibald is not an acquisitive award as I'm sure her commercial dealer, Kaliman Gallery, could secure her a little more than that! Gotta pay those school fees after all.

Vincent Fantauzzo
Heath, 2008
Courtesy Good Timing

I shed a little tear when I saw Vincent Fantauzzo's highly commended painting of Heath Ledger. I might be part of the media now, but I'm not a cunt and I do know when it is appropriate to elicit a momentary display of grief. Now that the tears have subsided, I've realised the portrait of Heath Ledger is definitely a winner - or at least Fantauzzo is a winner for depicting a celebrity in his last days without even knowing. Psychic enegery is obviously lacking for The Artswipe this month and abundant for Fantauzzo. Art is sometimes about good timing - being in the right place at the right time. Let's not forget that in the hustle and bustle of our busy urbane lives. Certainly Heath is a winner because, in addition to its impeccable sense of timing, the portrait mines the enduring cliche of the genius artist tormented by voices in his head.

Now that The Artswipe is a fully fledged media carnie, a head full of my own multi-tracked voice is an option I'd like to consider. A head full of skanky dreadlocks that nods approval at bug-eyed offspring, perhaps not. Chicken ladies, maybe.

Joanna Braithwaite
Chook, chook, chook, 2008
Courtesy Post-Feminist
joie de vivre


Plum Clafoutis said...

But every month is Artswipe month!

Skanky Jane said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Plum Clafoutis said...

She was working in a bridal shop in Flushing, Queens,
'Til her boyfriend kicked her out in one of those crushing scenes.

Skanky Jane said...

I kiss her for the first time
And then I take her home
I'm invited in for coffee
And I give the dog a bone

Plum Clafoutis said...

Long, long live love
Love is to care
Caring and sharing
Long, long live love, love, love, love, love
Long, long live love
As long as we live
Living forgiving
Long, long live love

Skanky Jane said...

Yet if you build your life on dreams
It's prudent to recall,
A man with moonlight in his hand
Has nothing there at all

Colin Plum said...

Wrap your troubles in dreams.

Skanky Jane said...

He told all his pals, the short, the tall,
What a time he’d had;
And as each enlisted like a man
Private Perks said ‘Now my lad,’ Hi!

Bloody cynic - wot?! I'm with you Plum ol' chum, long live love!


Anonymous said...

Hell yeah.