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Archibald Prize 2016. Finalists. Jon Cattapan

Artist: Benjamin Aitken

Title: Portrait of mentor (Jon Cattapan and self)

Medium: Synthetic polymer paint on canvas

Dimensions: 154 x 134 cm

Jon Cattapan is a Melbourne-based artist who has exhibited extensively in Australia and abroad. Known for his panoramic city vistas and figurative groupings, he was the subject of a major retrospective at the Ian Potter Museum of Art, University of Melbourne, in 2006. He won the 2013 Bulgari Art Award, an acquisitive prize at the Art Gallery of New South Wales.

‘I met Jon Cattapan as a fellow finalist in the Bayside Acquisitive Art Prize for painting and he has since become something of a mentor,’ says Benjamin Aitken.

‘I had the honour of him opening my 2015 solo show at the Bayside Arts and Cultural Centre. Although he is a professor at the Victorian College of the Arts, I have no tertiary training. This creates a unique relationship unlike those he would have with his students. The background is a subtle homage to artist Robert Jacks, another artist who has inspired my work. Both Jon and Robert lived in New York for a period of time and I am heading there for a research trip later this year.’

Born in Melbourne in 1991, Aitken is co-director of the Melbourne gallery Nicholas Projects. He was highly commended in the 2014 Black Swan Prize for Portraiture and was selected by critic Ashley Crawford and 2010 Archibald and Wynne winner Sam Leach for the 2014 NotFair art fair. This is his first time in the Archibald Prize.

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