Mitch Cairns | Archibald Prize | Art Gallery of NSW, 2023

“Artists Mitch Cairns and Elizabeth Pulie are old friends. ‘I first asked Elizabeth to sit for this portrait seven years ago. Over that time, I have reflected on her preoccupation with the many histories of conceptual art,’ says Cairns, a five-time Archibald finalist, who won the award in 2017 with a portrait of another artist, his partner Agatha Gothe-Snape. ‘When it came to making this portrait, it struck me that the “idea” of her unfixed practice might be more interesting than seeking a representational likeness. By this I mean the challenge of painting an aspect of Elizabeth’s practice, much like painting a highly cropped image, was what fascinated me.’

Pulie’s practice includes the use of techniques such as sewing, embroidery and painting on hessian. She is also involved with initiating independent artist projects and publications, and works as an educator and academic at the National Art School in Sydney. ‘For this painting, I worked from two batches of drawings made in 2017 and 2022,’ says Cairns, who considers the work a public declaration of the respect he has for Pulie as an artist.” (AGNSW website)

Elizabeth Pulie is represented by Sarah Cottier Gallery, Sydney.