Vanessa Stockard’s subject is artist McLean Edwards, a renowned, idiosyncratic figurative painter who has been an Archibald Prize finalist himself on five occasions. One of those paintings depicted Cate Blanchett, who collects his work. Edwards has also been the subject of several Archibald Prize portraits painted by different artists. This year, he is a finalist in the Sulman Prize.
Stockard says that ‘the fascinating range of Edwards’ work’ took her some time to get to grips with.
‘I’ve known and admired McLean’s work for 20 years and found his dark yet playful portraits reflect the intellect and sensitivity contained within the man himself,’ she says.
‘With this portrait, I wanted to highlight McLean’s depth, unique complexity and beauty. I often focus on these aspects in life and in my work. I also require comedy and McLean brings his own. After executing 53 versions of McLean, here is number 52.’
Born in Sydney in 1975, Stockard is a graduate of the College of Fine Arts and exhibits nationally and internationally. This is her third time as finalist in the Archibald Prize.