The lost 15 years is a not to be missed exhibition displaying the figurative works of one of the most celebrated contemporary portrait painters, David Naseby. Established Australian artist David Naseby is a five times finalist in Australia’s prestigious Archibald Prize, with a passion for capturing the essence of his subject’s personality.
Whether painting figures or landscapes, Naseby’s intention is always clear – to discover what is beneath the surface. Naseby thinks of himself as a detective when painting portraits, delving into a life unknown and investigating what a person’s flesh is really covering.
“The power of any iceberg lies beneath its tip. I want to discover if the character is made up or real, or if their bravado is a cover for their fear, or their kindness is a signal of something sinister. It doesn’t matter whether they are someone sitting in the gutter or a priest in a position of power. I ask myself what are the tragedies and confrontations they have faced. “ – David Naseby.
Naseby has painted a number of notable Australian figures, including Sir John Gorton, Les Murray, Angry Anderson and cartoonist Bill Leak. Many years ago Naseby found himself on the edge of the Murray River at a spot where salinity had killed off all the trees on the riverbank. He recalls the ghostly forms of the dead gums looked like twisted, tortured dancers reaching up in prayer. The scene haunted him for a long time and later, when he came back to exploring the human form, it struck him that his figure paintings bore a close resemblance to the organic structure of the landscapes that he had been painting and had haunted him for so long.
“Most of my paintings deal with confrontation of some kind or other. I feel I am wasting my time if they are not. I am only happy when I push my art beyond my own limits, which is when those free explosive marks begin to arrive. The bolder I am the more I begin to nail this power, and it is then I discover I do have some insight after all. There is a very fine balancing act between freedom and control. Even when figures are really distorted, I still want the viewer to be able to find a narrative. This involves eliminating the unnecessary elements, which is part of the process all good drawing and painting.” – David Naseby
The Lost 15 Years will run from April 29th until May 31st and feature a diverse collection of Naseby’s figurative works, all of which are available to purchase online and at the gallery.
David Naseby was born in England in 1937 and studied in the United Kingdom before coming to Australia in 1953. He worked as a rouseabout and studied at the Queensland Art Gallery before moving to Sydney, where he worked extensively in advertising. One of his first portrait commissions was of Belinda Green for John Singleton, and he has since painted many portraits on commission including two of Greg Norman. He is represented in collections in Australia, the USA and the UK. He was a finalist in the Archibald Prizes of 1995, 1998 and 1999 for his portraits of Les Murray (twice) and Bob Ellis; the National Portrait Gallery acquired his portraits of Murray and Ellis in 2001. In 2002 he held an artist residency at Bundanoon. (Copyright, National Portrait Gallery, Canberra)
Thursday and Friday 6 – 9 pm
Saturday and Sunday 11 am – 6pm
At other times by appointment.