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Athena Bellas is a young screen studies scholar currently teaching at the University of Melbourne.
‘Athena has modelled for me for several years,’ says Prudence Flint. ‘Despite our 26-year age difference, we share a close friendship. We first met when she was 14 and right back then we shared a particular, obsessive interest in the “troublesome feminine” on screen, in art and literature. She has been a sharp-eyed, no-holds-barred collaborator in my painting life, prepared to embody uneasy ideas.’
‘I was keen to explore this intimate shower scene as a kind of poised unravelling. I have a memory of watching Hitchcock’s Psycho one night alone, at nine years old. I admire early northern gothic paintings depicting tears and blood, such as Hans Memling’s Man of Sorrows in the arms of the Virgin at the National Gallery of Victoria. When I painted the flowing water it felt profane and I had to step back. I wanted to cover the face so the hands created another kind of face.’
Flint was a finalist in the 2006, 2013 and 2015 Archibald Prizes, and has won the Portia Geach Memorial Award (2010) and the Doug Moran National Portrait Prize (2004).