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Michael Zavros is an artist, who has himself been hung in the Archibald Prize several times. Last year he was represented by a witty, self-deprecating self-portrait, which featured a huge skull made up of Ray Ban sunglasses, expensive aftershave lotions and a shiny pair of shoes.
Cherry Hood, who won the Archibald Prize in 2002 with a portrait of pianist Simon Tedeschi, has wanted to paint Zavros’s portrait for many years. ‘Well he is pretty gorgeous! And not just in appearance,’ she says.
They met around 10 years ago when they were both exhibiting at the same Sydney gallery. Zavros now lives in Brisbane with art curator/writer Alison Kubler and their young daughters.
‘We had quite a lot in common,’ says Hood. ‘We were both realist painters back when realism was re-emerging as a new form. Mad about horses and animals in general, we got out of the city rat race and acquired ‘ranches’ (as Michael calls our respective hobby farms) almost simultaneously.
‘I love Michael’s paintings and have acquired several. Michael and Alison have two of my large works, one of which Michael incorporated into a painting of an interior from a series entitled Trophy hunter. In these works he makes analogies with art collector’s ‘hunting trophies’ and his own collection of taxidermy, to which the striking springbok depicted here belongs.
‘Michael’s life and work often overlaps,’ observes Hood. ‘His drawings and paintings of horses stem from his own experience as a competitive rider. His Greek heritage emerges in work that references classical mythology, alongside images of the male figure in fashion and European architecture.’
Born in Sydney, Hood has a Bachelor of Visual Arts (Hons) and a Master of Visual Arts from Sydney University. In 2005, she retreated to rural NSW to build her dream studio after many hectic years of solo exhibitions in Australia and overseas. She continues to exhibit regularly. This is her fifth time in the Archibald Prize. She has also been a finalist in the Dobell Drawing Prize and the Portia Geach Memorial Award.