Art Gallery of South Australia, June – September 2016
Born 1944 in Riverton, a charming little town in South Australia’s mid north, Hannaford has built a quietly solid reputation for his realist, unflashy works of portraiture. (We except the statue of Sir Donald Bradman outside the Adelaide Oval, which work is an atrocity on myriad levels).
This retrospective of his many and varied portraits (including a surfeit of self-portraits – see main image and the 5th picture below – a tad narcissistic Alfie?) shows clear and consistent talent in capturing the essence of his subjects. Apart from the numerous ‘sleb’ portraits, including author Robert Dessaix, 24th Australian Prime Minister Paul Keating, and virtual Premier-for-Life Sir Thomas Playford (see 2nd, 3rd and 9th pictures below), I particularly liked the two elderly ladies, the quietly stoic indigenous man, and the pooch.
Philip Adams is rendered here (inevitably), along with fellow wind-bag Tim Flannery, but Adams, who opened the retrospective, has some valuable things to say about Hannaford’s no-short-cuts approach: “Whereas many work from photographs, he demands that you sit. And sit. And sit. He props you on a little stage he constructs (he’s a far better painter than carpenter), sticks his easel beside you, spreads out a drop sheet, kicks off his shoes, stands back five yards, stares at you intently – and charges. Literally. He makes a brushstroke, just one, and retreats…And this goes on and on for days.” [From The Weekend Australian Magazine, June 2016.]
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