Louise Hearman

The Worlds Within

By Andrew Gaynor

Louise Hearman is on a roll. Having won the prestigious Moran Prize in 2014 with a double portrait of long-time partner and colleague Bill Henson, she followed this up by winning this year’s Archibald Prize with a painting of the entertainer Barry Humphries. Painted in her trademark luminous, quicksilver technique, both portraits are worthy companions to Hearman’s vast body of images featuring dislocated figures amid darkened worlds. Currently the focus of a major survey at Sydney’s Museum of Contemporary Art, Hearman spoke to Vault in her Melbourne warehouse as Pig, her recently adopted dog, kept both parties amused.

In addition to your painting skills, you are also fascinated by and steeped in a deep understanding of many things. It’s akin to the autodidact.

I like to do things my own way. Dad was a gifted draughtsman who I would watch draw occasionally. He would sometimes look at my work and make a comment but he would never teach, which is a perfect situation for me. I love to make my own discoveries. One of the best things a parent can do, in my opinion is to let their children make their own discoveries.

I drew and looked at technical books about ways to look at drawing. Art school taught me about materials and introduced me to people I am still friends with. At the time, the VCA was set up to help aspiring artists feel the reality of being an artist, [the idea that] your time is entirely your own. You can only blame yourself if things are not happening. It’s a fantastically basic ... Subscribe to read this article in full

PURCHASE A PDF DOWNLOAD OF THIS ISSUE (AUD$10)

Prefer a hard copy? Visit our subscription page to purchase single printed back issues.