We acknowledge the Gadigal of the Eora Nation, the traditional custodians of the Country on which the Art Gallery of NSW stands.

Mariola Smarzak Wendy

oil on canvas

61 x 46 cm

Wendy Arnold is an accomplished artist, painter and fashion designer. She is a previous co-owner of the Studibaker Hawk fashion label as well as co-director of One+2 artist studios in Rozelle and Balmain.

‘I have known Wendy for 18 years,’ says Mariola Smarzak. ‘We have worked together in the Rozelle studios, sharing many hours together, exchanging ideas and having a great time. Her generous spirit and positive attitude is very infectious, somehow inspiring many of us to become more adventurous in our artistic endeavours.

‘During one of our gatherings, I noticed a very calm and meditative expression on her face. I thought I would like to capture this moment in my painting. Usually I paint in quite an abstract way, however, I am interested in portraiture as well. When I paint portraits, the subject, being external, confronts me in a different way. Depicting someone in a painting can also tell a lot about yourself. It’s not always comfortable but it’s fascinating.’

Born in Poland, Smarzak completed a Master of Fine Arts at the College of Fine Arts, Sydney. This is her first time as an Archibald Prize finalist. She was a finalist in the Portia Geach Memorial Award in 2006 and 2008, and the Salon des Refusés in 2000 and 2002. She has had numerous solo and group shows over the years. She also runs art programs for people with disabilities for the Miroma Rudolf Steiner Centre.