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Archibald Prize 2016. Finalists. Nick Mourtzakis self portrait.

Artist: Nick Mourtzakis

Title: Self-portrait: in violet

Medium: oil on linen

Dimensions: 43 x 40.5 cm

Nick Mourtzakis painted Self-portrait: in violet using a mirror.

‘The provocation for this work was an earlier self-portrait from 2009 that dissatisfied me more and more intensely as time passed. Who was the person in the painting? Certainly not me now. Time and change had obliterated any empathy that may have existed between painter and subject. Appropriately, I painted Self-portrait: in violet directly over the previous work, totally obliterating it,’ says Mourtzakis.

‘The process of observing one’s image in a mirror in order to make a self-portrait is an elusive and tenuous experience, as is the making of any portrait. The painting incrementally registers an almost intangible series of singular impressions and wilfully arrives at a connecting set of relationships, a gestalt, generating a form that is hopefully more than the sum of its parts.

‘The sensation of looking into the mirror is an affirmation that the mysterious phenomena of the world are close at hand.’

Born in Greece in 1951, Mourtzakis came to Australia in 1954 and lives in Melbourne. An exhibiting artist since 1976, he completed a Master of Fine Art from the Victorian College of the Arts. He was awarded the Dobell Prize for Drawing in 2000 and 2006, and was a finalist in the 2009 Archibald Prize with a portrait of Alex Wodak.

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