2022 Geelong Contemporary Art Prize Finalist
Exhibition 25 June – 11 September
Geelong Art Gallery
Congratulations to Victoria Reichelt who has been selected as a finalist for the 2022 Geelong Contemporary Art Prize for her work Henry (after Betty)
Victoria says of her work:
Henry (after Betty) is a portrait of my son and a reference to Gerhard Richter’s portrait of his daughter, ‘Betty’ (1988).
Like Richter, I address the complex relationships between painting and photography, parent and child: the love/hate, push/pull of photograph and paint; the force of wills bound up in looking at and looking away. Despite the child’s emphatic visual presence, and the work’s function as portrait, his features and expression are largely unseen, forcing the viewer to look more closely at the details of the painted surface and in a sense, away from who is depicted. This is at odds with photography, a medium that asks us to overlook its materiality in favour of what it shows. Yet Henry’s turning away is also thoroughly photographic, a representation of a photographic instant. In contrast, the slowness of painting is grounded in seeing the materiality of paint and its manipulation in tandem with what it depicts. Here, the time taken to paint the image, the rendering of each stitch in the beanie, is laboursome and repetitive but also an act of love, much like parenting itself.
Henry (after Betty) asks how best to represent the most important things in life and responds by making photography, painting, and Henry its necessarily combined subjects.