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Peter Powditch is a renowned painter. He was the winner of the 1972 Sulman Prize and his work can be found in the collections of most state-run institutions in Australia.
‘I was drawn to the idea of painting Peter after attending the recent Pop to popism exhibition at the Art Gallery of New South Wales. The inclusion of Powditch’s Seascape II 1969 to my mind reaffirmed the significance of his work,’ says Mitch Cairns.
‘In general, Peter’s work is characterised by a directness of purpose, exemplary draftsmanship and an incisive approach to painting problems. He is an unapologetic image-maker.
‘On accepting my invitation to sit, I spent a couple of days with Peter making drawings at his home and studio on the NSW North Coast. For this portrait, I chose to paint him in his studio. It had been raining heavily during my visit so the room was quite dark. We had a great conversation about his most recent assemblages. The beauty found and pleasure taken in the discovery of shape, here in the assemblages and also reminiscent of Seascape II, were the starting point of this painting.’
Born in Camden, NSW in 1984, Cairns lives and works in Sydney. He graduated from the National Art School in 2006. He was a finalist in the Archibald Prize in 2013 and 2014, and in 2012 was awarded the Brett Whiteley Travelling Art Scholarship. He is currently completing work towards a solo exhibition at the Heide Museum of Modern Art, Melbourne.
Runner-up for the Archibald Prize 2015