Bridgette McNab’s subject is Australian fashion designer Karla Špetić. ‘I was first drawn to Karla as a subject as her design aesthetic resonates with my own practice – clean lines, resplendent colours and graphic imagery. The nonchalant dreaminess present in Karla’s work is a quality that I strive to capture within my own work as a painter,’ says McNab.
‘Originally from Dubrovnik, Karla relocated to Australia at age ten with her mother as refugees, fleeing the war of independence in Croatia. She admits that she brings her emotional life to whatever she is working on, and often draws on childhood memories for inspiration. I wanted my portrait to hint at Karla’s sensitive disposition without losing sight of the fact that she is a resilient, self-made business woman. The painting stays true to both our modern aesthetics whilst highlighting the aspects of the creative journey that we value most – sincerity, freedom and a love of colour.’
Born in Queensland in 1985, McNab is now based in Melbourne after years of living overseas. She is a still-life and portrait painter and has been a finalist in the Doug Moran National Portrait Prize and the Portia Geach Memorial Award. This is her second time as a finalist in the Archibald Prize.