2012 Portraits of the Past

Craig Waddell lives and works in Sydney and his paintings bear witness to his great passion for the physical characteristics of paint – the pushing, pulling and scraping of it around a canvas. His abstract and semi abstract paintings featuring figures, landscapes and flora pulse with energy and light. In Waddell’s words:

I have a love affair with paint and painting and this passion runs through all the various subject matters and forms I tackle. I love the physical act of almost wrestling with paint and canvas, applying paint in an explosive way. Maybe this stems from my sporting background: I played first grade cricket from a young age, and this physical performance on the field, mirrors the physicality I bring to my painting.

For the most recent major body of work, the Portraits of the Past, Waddell re-engaged with a number of paintings either seen in museums and galleries or in books read during history lessions at art school which left resounding impressions and formed a platform to work from. In his trademark style, Waddell distorted these subjects and painted abstract portraits, “aware that the challenge lie[d] in how to re-interpret an image from my past and bring it back to life with freshness and vitality.

Waddell has won numerous awards and residencies including the Moya Dyring Award, an AGNSW residency at Cite Internationale des Arts in Paris, the Marten Bequest Travelling Art Scholarship and the Gunnery Studio at Artspace in Sydney. Waddell has exhibited widely throughout Australia and Asia and has been a finalist in many of the key competitions in Australia including the Dobell, NSW Plein Air Painting Prize, Muswellbrook Open Art Prize, the ABN AMRO Emerging Art Award, Kilgour Prize and the Doug Moran Portrait Prize.

Waddell won the 2010 Mosman Art Prize and in 2011 his iconic rooster painting won the Clients Choice Award in the RBS emerging art prize. In 2012 he was a finalist in the Archibald and Wynne Prizes.

Jane Somerville