Portrayal Exhibition

Portrayal was a group portrait exhibition curated by Suzannah Henty and Miriam Arbus at Brunswick Street Gallery. Below is an excerpt from the exhibition description, and a list of artists who have contributed:

Portrayal, as an exhibition, will seek to situate itself within concepts of our contemporary inclination to examine/or respond to self (and) other’s images without preconceptions (gender, sex, race, religion, politics etc), and with a sense of the image provoking and dictating new contexts for itself.

Thinking about: self-directed/identified gender, post-gender, slippage in supposed categorical definitions (sex, gender, religion), the ability of a portrait to provoke political point, marital redefinitions, high/low aesthetic, Schizoculture.

Bec Bigg-Wither
Rian Smit
Marianna Nigra
Greg O’Toole
Savina Hopkins
Ben Guy
Cal Alexander
Daisy Lewis
Joanne Braddy
Aleta Lederwasch
Siobhan O’Brien
Michele Newman
Tony Alston
Luisa Hansal
Justin A.F Perkins

I had the opportunity to exhibit at the gallery, however due to poor timing, I was unable to participate (which is a complete shame since the theme is so relevant to my work!) Hopefully I’ll be exhibiting some artwork soon……(eek!). The below are some of my favourite pieces.


Spread across three walls are anonymous descriptions which match up to one of the portraits placed in the middle. I thought this was a clever way of depicting the way we see and judge people. How do we make the connection between someone’s life story, values, personality and their outward appearance? Does their expression say something? Their skin colour? Their age or gender?


These paintings were done with inexpensive materials, appropriating popular images and reinterpreting them with a bit a mock humour to comment on societal issues. Four of the images pictured above can be seen from multiple angles.


An incredibly loaded artwork which uses bandaids to create the form of a face. This work can be interpreted in many varying ways. My thoughts meandered towards the notion of ‘identity’ and the way it is constantly layered with hurt and happiness – we break and patch ourselves up again.


A friend’s work, by Siobhan O’Brien (see more of her work and inspiration, here or here) explores gender stereotypes through a few family members. Each photograph has a narrative, and yet grouped together in a way that could create one cohesive story. Personally, I feel like this is successful because of how strongly contextualised the images are – these are, after all, a part of the way in which stereotypes are formed.


I love the quality of the painting as it plays with both smooth and geometrical textures to capture light and form, but again (similar to the work with the bandaids) adds depth and meaning to the work. The faceted colours could indicate multiple facets of identity – and the naked form leaves no room for us to hide our true selves.


We went to Hammer&Tong for lunch before this. It was a bit of a disappointment because we went such a long way, for a (dare I say) mediocre meal – even though the food was presented incredibly well! We definitely had to wait in line, it was packed. Seemed like it was a bit over-hyped, or maybe we just didn’t choose quite the right dishes.

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