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Photo – courtesy of the artist.

The Archibald Prize People’s Choice Winner Announced

Elle Murrell
16th August, 2018

The people have spoken – it’s a win for this first-time Archibald finalist and her portrait of the inimitable Guy Pearce.

Congratulation to Anne Middleton, who has taken out the 2018 Archibald Prize People’s Choice Award for her portrait of Australian actor Guy Pearce.

Anne explains that she was intrigued by the depth of emotion in Guy Pearce’s face and wanted to take on the challenge of painting him for her first venture into large-scale portraiture. ‘The entire process of painting this portrait was both daunting and exciting. Guy and I talked about the qualities of tin-type photography and discussed how we could capture a similar sensation of peering into his soul. The scale of the painting was liberating, and I could paint loosely and expressively despite the level of detail,’ reflected the Melbourne-based artist.

‘I painted Guy in the natural light of my studio. The light rakes across his face, casting one side of his face into deep shadow. Obscure and mysterious, it speaks of hidden and difficult times. The other side is brilliantly lit, highlighting the delicacy, transparency and vulnerability of his skin, and the subtle and tender quality of his eyes and mouth. It is an uncompromising light, honest and unflinching,’ added Anne, who is influenced by European oil painting techniques from the 17th and 18th centuries. ‘This extreme tonality enabled me to explore the chameleon nature of Guy Pearce – a profound personal awareness of the light and dark that makes him both an extraordinary actor and a kind, funny and unassuming bloke.’

Art Gallery of NSW director Michael Brand praised Anne’s artwork as an uncompromising and compelling depiction of the hugely-popular Australian actor. Guy, who is currently filming in Amsterdam, was also stoked and sent his congratulations to Anne!

She has been awarded a $3,500 cash prize, while lucky voter Susanne Wheelahan (who visited Art Gallery of NSW’s 2018 Archibald, Wynne and Sulman exhibition to enter) received $2,000.

This winning portrait and finalist artworks from all three premier art prizes will remain on show at the Art Gallery of NSW until Sunday, September 9th. They will then head off on a tour of regional NSW and Victoria until June 2019 – stay tuned!

Elle Murrell
16th August, 2018

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