Interpreting portraits: Macquarie 1810-2010

Izabela Pluta

1 Jan 2010

Hawkesbury Regional Gallery in Windsor, NSW commissioned 7 artists to respond to the idea of the portrait, specifically in reference to the unlike collection of portraits that exist of Governor Lauchlan Macquarie. The exhibition, Interpreting portraits: Macquarie 1810-2010 examines issues surrounding authenticity, history and the veracity of the painted image. The exhibition juxtaposed colonial portraits of Macquarie and his contemporaries, as well as new works interpreting Macquarie and his times.

Pluta’s body of work specifically responded to a news story from 2009 that described the journey of Lauchlan Macquarie’s sculpture (nicknamed “the Flasher” due to the way he is holding his coat) when it was removed from the gardens at Sydney’s Parliament House, and placed in it’s carpark, wrapped in blue tarpaulin. Allegedly, it was moved moved into storage at the Royal Botanical Gardens where it remained waiting to be resurrected – while many advocates requested replicas to be made and distributed into areas significant to the popular governor. Coincidently, it was repositioned in the forecourt of The Mint the month prior to the work being completed. The second component is a series of works on paper: the latitude/longitude co-ordinates of the location of the stored sculpture – it’s ‘alleged’ location from the Monuments of Australia website; and the aerial view of Macquarie’s mausoleum on the Ise of Mull, serendipitous concealed by cloud cover.