“Head in the sky feet on the ground”
Julia Gutman has taken out the 2023 Archibald Prize with her stitched-up portrait of Aussie pop star Montaigne, titled “Head in the sky feet on the ground”.
She pocketed a cool $100,000 for her winning work, which was announced on May 5th, 2023 at the Art Gallery of NSW in Sydney.
The young artist is a newbie to the Archibald and one of the youngest to ever win the gong in its 102-year history.
Her portrait is made of bits of fabric sewn together and is a ripper of a work that impressed the judges who picked it unanimously.
“My practice is broadly concerned with community and intimacy, so I wanted to work with someone I know well,
Jess (Montaigne) and I have been friends for a few years and there is a lot of alignment in our practices; we are both interested in creating our own forms and approaches rather than strictly adhering to any one tradition. Montaigne’s work defies genres, while their mercurial soprano has become an indelible part of the fabric of Australian music.
In this Archibald portrait, Montaigne’s pose mimics that of Egon Schiele’s Seated woman with bent knees, a painting of his wife Edith that subverted conventional representations of femininity when he composed it in 1917. Like Edith, Montaigne’s figure is distorted: at once angular and soft, representational and imagined. Montaigne sits in a vaguely suggested landscape, fragmented by a translucent screen, online and offline at once.”