We acknowledge the Gadigal of the Eora Nation, the traditional custodians of the Country on which the Art Gallery of NSW stands.

Jordan Richardson Venus

oil on canvas

122.3 x 183.4 cm

Jordan Richardson’s subject is writer and broadcaster Benjamin Law, whose many credits include the SBS-TV series The family Law (based on his memoir) and the play Torch the place, which premiered at Melbourne Theatre Company in 2020. Each week Law hosts the pop-culture show Stop everything on ABC Radio National.

‘I approached Benjamin about sitting for a portrait because I had imagined a reinterpretation of Diego Velázquez’s 17th-century painting The Rokeby Venus and felt that Ben would be a perfect candidate. As I’d anticipated, he was happy to give it a red-hot go,’ says Richardson, a four-time Archibald finalist.

‘There is a good deal of Benjamin’s humour embedded in the work, but I also believe it to be a sincerely beautiful picture. I love the voyeuristic nature of the pose, where, after closer inspection, we see him staring back at us through the mirror, watching us all along. I wanted to revel in the Baroque composition and paint handling, using the portrait as a vehicle to reimagine Velázquez’s image of ideal feminine beauty through a very different lens.’

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