Mike Parr at the MCA 2006

Portrait by Victor Gordon
Oil on canvas
225 x 180 cm
Sulman Prize 2007—Finalist

Mike Parr is a well known and much respected performance artist in Australia. Amongst his own concerns, besides having only one arm which has informed his life’s work about loss and lack, he has also looked intensely at himself in an extended self portrait project as well as his own alter ego. In this latter endeavour he has projected himself into the role of assuming his own female persona, inter alia, he documented himself photographically as the bride in his own wedding. It is this dualistic quality of Mike Parr’s obsession with self that I believe I have captured. The fleeting female figure painted in sfumato appears as somewhat of a spectre, passing him by, while the one armed (bandido) Mike leans assuredly against the wall of the establishment, representing his relationship with the very architecture of the Museum of Contemporary Art in Sydney as well as his prominent self assured placement in contemporary Australian Art.

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