The 2021 Victorian Salon des Refusés
This painting is part of the ‘Our Entries’ exhibition -
a collection of post Archibald entries from
Gippsland artists at the Rosedale Mechanics Hall
through November 21st.
click on artwork to enlarge
Cat #8 Laurel Foenander
SELF PORTRAIT WITH ARKIE FOENANDER - It's Been A Big Year
Oil on Linen
122 cm h x 122 cm w
At the completion of this self portrait, our big year had stretched into a year and a half, with the pandemic and lockdowns continuing to appear all over the country.
Our Smithfield Collie, Arkie is a comical-looking but sensitive
girl who often leans against people in a show of affection or support, prompting me to consider the way Australians have leaned on their pets in Covid times. Walking the dog has become a national sport and for some people is the only other beating heart in their home for months on end, and a tactile comfort when we have to keep our distance from human friends and family.
I thought too about the age-old tradition of including dogs in art from cave paintings through to the English and Old European masters of portraiture, as well as modern masters like Whitely and Storrier. I find self-portraiture an excruciating, confronting process, perhaps exposing another reason I’ve included my studio assistant, but what emerged is a steadfast, slightly defiant look at ageing, surviving in the arts and the strangeness of this great big universe in the age of Covid.
This painting is part of the ‘Our Entries’ exhibition - a collection of post Archibald entries from Gippsland artists at the Rosedale Mechanics Hall through November 21st.