I think the Archibald prize exhibition at the NSW Art Gallery has closed by now.
I spent an hour there one recent afternoon.
Saw the winner, which nobody was paying any attention to. The two-headed Janus idea was a good one, but the execution was garbage. Firewood.
My personal favourite picture was Adam and Harvie (Krumpet) by David Ralph. I liked it's squareness for some reason, and the cheerful animated look Adam had. And the relationship between Harvie and his creator kept me wondering. Was Harvie creeping up on Adam to surprise him? Was he riding on Adam's back? Was Adam looking more startled or wary?
One picture that I didn't exactly like, but found interesting was of Gretel Killeen. I wasn't sure the picture was so good, and at first I didn't even think it looked too much like Gretel. It looked to harsh. But after looking at it some more it struck me that Gretel sometimes does actually have that harsh look to her.
* I really enjoyed many of the entries in the Australian Photographic Portrait Prize that hung in some nearby rooms. Some good ones of Libby Gore, Duncan Armstrong under water, a guy sitting below the mural of Martin Luther King in Newtown, and Bob Hawke (with skin tone darkened as if to exaggerate his exposure to harsh Australian sunlight).
The most gorgeous shot was of a young woman standing in a suburban backyard. I don't remember the name of her or the photographer, but it was impressively good. It was all fairly simple and straightforward, with just a few odd touches including mesh material wrapped around the woman's face. But she had a presence, and the strong colouring of the photo made the ordinary backyard (little more than some grass and a fence) look like something extraordinary. The blurb beside it mentioned that the photographer took a long time to set it all up (I believe it was over a number of weeks) and it showed. Top marks!