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

Heidi Yardley Julia deVille

oil on linen

97 x 71 cm

Julia deVille is a highly skilled jeweller, taxidermist and artist. She creates a sense of wonder and otherworldliness in her sculptures and installations, which have captivated a wide audience over recent years.

‘For this portrait I wanted to strip back the associated elaborate layers of her work to focus on her as a person with very little adornment apart from her iconic pavé raven skull necklace,’ says Heidi Yardley.

‘I see her as a woman with a real inner strength and determination, an artist who has worked with her hands for many years and countless hours to create intricate hand-made jewellery and taxidermy sculpture. Julia also has a passion for animal rights and I believe that her work can be described as a true labour of love. I have painted her standing in front of the black velvet curtain that was installed as the entrance to her installation titled Degustation for the National Gallery of Victoria’s Melbourne now exhibition. This backdrop is very subtle in the painting but the deep blackness references her fascination with the Victorian era, and acts as a divider between her and her work hidden behind it.’

Born in 1975, Yardley is a Melbourne-based artist working predominantly in the fields of painting and drawing. She has participated in numerous group exhibitions and this is her second time in the Archibald Prize. Yardley is also a finalist in this year’s Sulman Prize.