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NICHOLAS HARDING | Finalist in the Wynne Prize 2017 & Archibald 2017

2019


CONGRATULATIONS to Nicholas Harding finalist in the 2017 WYNNE Prize as well as a finalist in the 2017 Archibald Prize for his portrait of John Olsen. Wilpena eucalypt and wattle, 2017, oil on linen, 183 x 245 cm 
Wilpena Pound is an amphitheatre of mountains in South Australia's Flinders Ranges National Park. Nicholas Harding describes his response to working from this landscape: 'Reflected sky pooling in stream water. Wattle blooms amongst bark and bough. Bleaching light refracted through twigs and leaves. Birdsong and insect buzz.
"John's irrepressible joie de vivre, in both his personality and work, was something I wanted to paint. This request was politely denied," says Harding. "Last year, however, after painting Tim for a National Portrait Gallery exhibition, he asked if I'd like to paint John. Then a sitting became impossible with the worsening of John's wife?s illness. Sadly, just before Christmas, Katherine died."
In January, John had his 89th birthday. He had been involved with his major retrospective at the National Gallery of Victoria, then its imminent opening at the Art Gallery of New South Wales. He was also painting new work for an exhibition in March. It was a time of mortal loss, emotional exhaustion and great achievement. At this profoundly complex moment of his life, with great generosity, John sat for me in his studio. The winners of the Wynne Prize and the Archibald will be announced on the 28th of July 2017.  

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