Victoria Reichelt: Portia Geach Prize, Highly Commended

Victoria Reichelt
La Mere (after Elizabeth Nourse), 2019
oil on linen
66.5 x 51cm

The Portia Geach Memorial Award is Australia’s most prestigious art prize for portraiture by women artists.

La Mere (after Elizabeth Nourse) is a reimagining of a painting by American artist Elizabeth Nourse, a groundbreaking 19th/20th century painter who paved the way for female artists in her time. Reichelt's reimagining of her work La Mere (the Mother) is a self-portrait, depicting the artist in the studio struggling to find a balance between the demands of work and the challenges of motherhood.

Elizabeth Nourse painted unvarnished depictions women as they were in everyday life. Similarly I am aiming to depict my everyday, by creating an honest portrait of the life of a contemporary artist who is also a mother, a situation which often demands late night work in the studio after a day of taking care of children. The work uses a heightened chiaroscuro effect to highlight the emotion of the situation – an ordinary scene in my day to day, but one that is charged with rich and contradicting feelings.