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

Natasha Walsh Dear Brett (the blue room)

oil on copper

22.5 x 29.5 cm

In this self-portrait, Natasha Walsh celebrates the inner workings of the artist’s studio, while also subverting the historically limiting place of women within this space.

‘Referencing Brett Whiteley’s 1976 Archibald-winning work Self-portrait in the studio, I have repositioned the nude from the bottom left-hand corner, where she lay inert, to hold the active position of an artist painting her own nude representation through mirrors. The viewer adopts her perspective as the artist and subject, her outstretched hands becoming our own as she paints her work, The gaze,’ says Walsh.

The portrait also references the work of Japanese artist Hokusai along with the artists he inspired – Vincent van Gogh and Henri Matisse – who, in turn, inspired Whiteley and Walsh herself. It is painted on copper, and the variations in colour are determined by the reactions of different pigments to the oxidisation process.

Walsh won the 2018 Brett Whiteley Travelling Art Scholarship at the age of 24. This is her fifth time in the Archibald Prize.

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