Zoe Young was selected as a finalist in the 2016 Archibald Prize for her portrait of top Indigenous Australian model Sam Harris. This is the second time Zoe has been awarded finalist in one of the most prestigious art prizes in Australia. Zoe was previously awarded finalist in the Archibald Prize in 2014 with her portrait of Olympic Snowboarder Torah Bright, which has recently been acquired by Canberra airport.
Zoe had a preliminary sitting with Harris during this year’s Australian Fashion Week. She then set up the scene in her studio and painted the props and flowers before Harris arrived for another sitting. True to the allegorical nature of Zoe’s work, she made reference to Manet’s Olympia (c.1863-65) through the pose adopted by Harris.
Sam Harris is an international fashion model whose mother descended from the Indigenous Bundjalung people. Zoe wanted to create an ‘ode to beauty.’ She had read an article about Sam Harris and her mother Myrna ‘who used to take Sam to op shops as a kid to get clothes for beauty pageants. I thought, what a wonderful, creative thing to do with your daughter and what a beautiful girl Sam was.’
Zoe’s Archibald finalist subjects are strong female Australian identities. Within her portrait of Torah Bright, Zoe had ‘originally planned to do an epic painting, something larger-than-life that captured the excitement and daring tricks of her sport, something really bright, maybe even with a splash of glitter. But after the sitting, I looked through the sketches and thought, “I’m just going to paint what I saw”. I caught Torah in an introspective moment, a calm silence after the chaos of recent months, somewhere between the guts and the glory, and her private and public lives.’
Most recently, Zoe has been exploring landscape and still-life inspired by her surroundings in the Southern Highlands. Zoe’s paintings are marked by her eclectic use of colour and sharp eye for dynamic composition. Within her portraiture and still-life works, Zoe has truly excelled and established herself as one of the forefront painters within a new generation of Australian artists.
Zoe Young’s Archibald portrait of Sam Harris is currently on display at the Art Gallery of NSW until 9 October 2016 – click here for more details
Piermarq are excited to announce a Zoe Young solo exhibition in April 2017
Would you like to view more works by Zoe Young? Feel free to give us a call on (02) 9660 7799 [email protected]