This exhibition displays many self-portraits by Brett Whiteley and significant examples of his portraits of other artists including Joel Elenberg, David Hockney, Vincent Van Gogh and Francis Bacon.
Twice winner of the Archibald Prize, Whiteley is one of Australia's best-known and popular artists. He was a charismatic and energetic individual who gained early success and international acclaim during the heady 1960s and 70s. From a very early age he was fascinated by the romantic vision of the artist as hero - or anti-hero - and enthusiastically pursued his passions in both his art and life-style.
When he painted himself or other artists he was relentless in his insightful psychological investigations of his subjects. Artists he admired included Vincent Van Gogh and Francis Bacon. Their faces fascinated him, as did their work, and he created many portraits of these two extraordinary individuals. Writers, poets and songwriters were also the subjects of several large paintings and many smaller studies, many of which are included in this exhibition.
Brett Whiteley's portraits are not so much snapshot likenesses as explorations of the psyche. He believed portraiture to be one of the most difficult areas of creation. "How do you make a picture that works as art but still refers to a person, to their life, to them �?", he said.
It has been claimed that the most extreme expression of individuality is found in the self-portrait. Barry Pearce, Head Curator of Australian Art, Art Gallery of New South Wales describes this exhibition as "representing the things that Whiteley called his inner paddock, in an attempt to marry the seen with the unseen of his life through images of himself and the alter-ego of others".
FOR EXHIBITION EVENTS AND WORKSHOPS, PLEASE VISIT: