Susan O’Doherty: 900 Eyes

Susan O’Doherty clockwise from top left Euan Macleod, Margaret Olley, Frank Watters, Lucy Culliton, Adam Cullen and Wendy Whiteley, 2006 - 2008, each panel acrylic on canvas 40 x 28cm.
Susan O’Doherty, clockwise from top left – Euan Macleod, Margaret Olley, Frank Watters, Lucy Culliton, Adam Cullen and Wendy Whiteley, 2006 – 2008, each panel acrylic on canvas 40 x 28cm.

O’Doherty says, “This project is not about conventional portraiture, nor is it the culmination of a personal relationship between artist and subject. It is meant to be viewed as a total; a sea of faces which themselves make up a whole portrait. It is also an arbitrary archive partially documenting the visual arts world centred around Sydney. I wanted my subjects to be recognisable, to come together like a large silent gathering of the arts community all clustered in one room. Each face is staring out from the canvas, unsmiling, eyes fixed on the viewer in a reversal, especially for the artists, looking back at their audience. 

There has been no sitting involved. To make my paintings, I searched out painters, sculptors, photographers, gallery directors, conservators, writers and collectors, taking two quick passport-style head and shoulders digital photos of each. With little warning they didn’t have time to prepare themselves for the camera. In this way everybody, no matter what their role or perceived status is equal.”