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The subject of Richard Larter’s painting is well-known Sydney artist Nell, who has been a friend of Larter’s for several years.
Larter often uses multiple images in a work. Of this portrait he says: “One of them is a laser print from a photograph I took, the rest are painted. Nell is even holding a painting of herself. It’s all fairly simple and easy to understand.”
Larter, who is 80 in May, is one of Australia’s most engaging, lively and, at times, provocative artists. The National Gallery of Australia held a major retrospective of his work last year, tracing his art across 50 years. A leading exponent of pop art in Australia, Larter works in both abstract and figurative modes. His work exudes a mischievous joie de vivre, as well as political passion, intellectual rigour and a fascination with erotic female sexuality. His wife and fellow artist Pat was his most regular and unabashed model until her death in 1996. Larter’s mischievous wit is matched by his skills as a draughtsman and remarkable colourist.
Born in England in 1929, Larter came to Australia in 1962. He has exhibited at Watters Gallery in Sydney since 1965. His numerous solo exhibitions including Stripperama at Heide Museum of Modern Art in Melbourne and New England Regional Art Museum in 2002 and Family Values in Tasmania, Brisbane and Liverpool in 2006/2007. He has been represented in many important group shows in Australia and overseas. He won the Clemenger Contemporary Art Award in 1996, the Berrima Art Prize in 1967 and the Perth Drawing Prize in 1967. This is his first time in the Archibald.