Philip Bacon AM is a well-known and respected figure in the art world. ‘Over many decades he has represented some of Australia’s most famous artists,’ says Jun Chen. ‘Now that he is also my art dealer, I decided to paint his portrait.
‘Often when you visit Philip Bacon Galleries in Brisbane, you will see Philip quietly coming down the stairs, and for some reason this made a deep impression on me and was the inspiration for this composition. In the portrait, I’m striving to show his personality, his kindness, confidence, and strong belief in the arts.
‘The setting I have placed him in, his own gallery, is important to the work’s composition and tone. I spent a lot of time on the background, using abstract textures, different shades of grey and emphatic marks, which I hope make for a portrait that is strong and powerful. It took two months to complete, from the draft to the finished work.’
Chen was born in 1960 in China and immigrated to Australia in 1990. This is his eighth time as an Archibald Prize finalist.