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Graham Fransella Self-portrait

213.4 x 152.4 cm

“If you’re an artist it’s hard not to paint self-portraits, because you can only paint what you know,” says Graham Fransella.

Fransella, who has worked a lot with the figure, decided “to have a tilt” at the Archibald having seen some of the Archibald entries in an exhibition at the Victorian Arts Centre. “I thought I’d test the boundaries of the prize by entering something more abstract than one normally associates with the Archibald and seeing whether it managed to sneak in,” he says.

The painting was inspired by a trip to the Red Centre last year when he travelled to many different Aboriginal communities and spent time drawing in the desert. “I wanted to work with just one or two colours,” he says, “and earth colours work really well. I also wanted to capture that sense of the figure in the landscape, a sense of space, and a linear quality where the line bears a relation to a map making. There is an edge in the painting between abstract and traditional figurative notions.”

Born in England, Graham Fransella has had 35 solo shows in Australia, England and Germany.