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Malcolm Turnbull is the federal member for Wentworth, minister for water and the environment, and the parliamentary secretary to the prime minister.
In this portrait Falk wanted to capture the essence of his personality rather than his perceived public persona. ‘The sittings I had with him were not with a businessman or a politician but rather with an everyday Australian’, she says. ‘Malcolm’s rolled up sleeves and open-necked shirt are indicative of his hands-on, approachable character. I sought to convey this trait by drawing the viewer’s eye to his heavy-set hands while his reclining pose hints at the self-confidence he possesses.’
‘The crushed shirt contrasts with the rigid, impeccably starched clothing we normally associate with our nation’s leaders’, says Falk. Known for her kaleidoscopic use of colour to convey a subject’s personality, she chose vibrant blues with white tones in order to give free-flowing life to the folds of the shirt. ‘I chose an iridescent white as the base colour, which gives the shirt an unusual shimmer and adapts to the lighting of the room’, she says.
Falk believes that the speed with which Turnbull has risen through Australian politics is partly the result of ‘an ability to sit and listen, giving of his time in a relaxed, unassuming manner, while remaining ever ready to push on and tackle his next challenge. Even as he leans back indulging the artist, his left hand, conscious of the watch it wears, is ready to launch him towards his next endeavour’.
Born in Israel in 1950, Falk came to Australia as a baby. She studied commercial art in Sydney but let it go when she moved to Canberra and then Brisbane with her husband and three children. Returning to Sydney 15 years ago, she again pursued her passion for art, painting at the Bess Galgut Art School and studying drawing and portraiture at the National Art School. In 2006 she was a finalist in the Shirley Hannan National Portrait Award, the Mosman Art Prize, the Waverley Art Prize and the Willoughby Art Prize.