Jane Guthleben’s subject is author and journalist Annabel Crabb, who is also known for her cookbooks and TV shows about cooking, Australian politics and history. The pair met some years ago when Annabel bought one of Guthleben’s paintings.
‘I admire Annabel because she energetically juggles full-time work and excellent cooking and has written about the pressures of modern domesticity in The wife drought,’ says Guthleben. ‘The painting aims to portray the public persona of Annabel as a baker, while celebrating the domesticity she writes and podcasts about.
‘I’ve painted her as an ornament on a small pedestal, wearing an apron and holding a wooden spoon – part of a series of ornament-portraits where the subject is transformed into a shelf ornament in a mundane pose. The work is deliberately small in scale to be the opposite of monumental, and pastel colours play upon the stereotype of woman as homemaker, which Annabel somehow manages to transcend.’
A former journalist herself, Guthleben was born in 1966 in Bairnsdale, Victoria. This is her first time in the Archibald Prize.