In 2007, Archibald prize finalist, Jonathan Dalton, decided to let go of the photography business he had built up in his homeland of Ireland and started teaching himself to paint. Just two years later he won two of the country’s major art prizes.
It was clear he had taken the right path. With the prize money he and his wife spent time travelling and lived in Spain for a few years before arriving in Australia. In the last few years he has exhibited in five solo shows in Ireland, Spain, China and Australia.
His success continues here with his selection as a finalist in the 2017 Archibald prize with a magnificent work titled ‘Lottie and James’ – a portrait of artists Lottie Consalvo and James Drinkwater. It was the first time he had entered the prize.
Dalton’s aim is to take the viewer beyond photorealism to what he calls ‘theatrical realism’. He imbues his works with a sense of drama, causing the viewer to wonder what’s going on beyond the picture plane. His exhibition with Nanda Hobbs Contemporary earlier this year was a perfect example of this theatricality where he turned the traditional still life on its head.
In this episode we talk about how he got started, the Archibald experience and the benefits and limits of photography when using photographs as a reference in painting. He also gives great insights into his painting techniques as well as revealing a lot about his process. He also tells of how online poker helped him in the early days of taking up painting!
See a short video of Dalton in his studio on the Talking with Painters YouTube here.
Current and Upcoming events
- Archibald, Wynne and Sulman Prize, Art Gallery of NSW, Sydney current until 22 October 2017
- ‘9 Hours Underground’, Artesian4, Wilson Car Park, Opera House, Sydney, 25 – 29 September 2017
Links to things and people we talk about on the show
- Jonathan Dalton
- Jonathan Dalton at Nanda\Hobbs Contemporary
- Jonathan Dalton on Instagram
- Archibald Prize at the Art Gallery of NSW
- Lottie Consalvo
- James Drinkwater
- Leonardo Da Vinci
- Ralph Hobbs
- Giles Alexander
- Chuck Close
- Alan Jones
- Video of Jonathan Dalton in his studio on the Talking with Painters YouTube channel