Gareth Liddiard For The Archibald?
News posted Friday, April 8 2011 at 03:00 PM.
Related: The Drones, Gareth Liddiard.
A portrait of Drones frontman Gareth Liddiard has been announced today as one of the finalists of this year’s Archibald art prize.
It’s not all Henry bloody Lawson by Sydney-based artist Jason Benjamin is one of 41 portraits vying for the prestigious $50,000 prize. In a quick e-chat with M+N today, Benjamin said he’s been meaning to paint Liddiard for quite some time, but finally arranged a sitting with the singer after the release of his solo, Australian Music Prize-nominated debut Strange Tourist last year.
“I’ve been a fan of Gareth's for ages (who hasn't?). I’m a mate of The Drones manager Bill Cullen and had been trying to set something up for around three years. It was becoming a bit of a seasonal thing, in that reassuring and disconcerting sort of way where I'd phone Bill [and say], ‘Summer's on the way again, where's Gareth?’
“I'm glad it took a while,” he continued, “because over this time Gareth put out his fantastic solo album [Strange Tourist], which I played over and over on my way down to his spot in Havilah, Victoria. We shot the shit for a few hours and that is where anything I ever do comes from, conversation/distillation.
“I was telling Gareth about the title and how that dictated a certain feel or direction. I brought up the terrific track ‘Highplains Mailman’ as that ‘Monaro country in southern NSW on your way to the Snowies’, which is where 90 percent of my work from the last couple of years is from. His threading a narrative within and inseparable from the landscape as a song is unparalleled anywhere.”
Benjamin – a Melbourne-born artist whose works have been exhibited in Canberra’s Australian National Gallery and Melbourne’s The National Gallery of Victoria – said the title of the piece is adapted from a line in the 2009 Australian film Lucky Country.
“[It] just stuck to me on a really visceral level. As a fan unashamedly of [Australian poet Henry] Lawson I wanted to give Gareth that same sense of authority over his already significant contribution to great Australian records.”
The winner of the Archibald Prize will be announced next Friday (April 15) at noon. Past rock-related portraits include Esther Erlich’s life-size rendering of Tim Rogers, Carla Fletcher’s stark painting of C.W Stoneking and Guy Maestri’s portrait of Geoffrey Gurrumul Yunupingu, which won the Archibald in 2009.