Sydney's Choice

Winner, Sydneys Choice 2006


Jane, undecided is Sydney's Choice 2006, announced on 30 March at the State Library of NSW. Visitors to the exhibition voted for this portrait by Queensland artist Chris Hall.

'The painting has a very Brisbane suburban smell to it, so I'm very chuffed that Sydney has responded so positively to it,' says Chris, who has been painting full-time for the past seven years.

Chris described her sitter as a 'friend of a friend. When I'm painting a portrait it's of the whole person - when you put people in a vulnerable or awkward situation, that's when people's strength and character are best revealed.'

Chris Hall - Jane, Undecided
Chris Hall - Jane, undecided

Jane was back on holiday after 11 years teaching in Tokyo. On seeing the portrait she 'felt proud to be Australian - the strength of that feeling. I've always loved sitting on fences ... The title is excellent and the painting summed up the conversation Chris, our friends and I had that morning ... The subject looks like she's thinking - what is she going to wear to a date that night ... will she go out, or not ... and pondering
life ...'

Visitor's comments made about Jane, undecided included:

'Jane, undecided appealed to me because of the way it perfectly depicted the quality of harsh summer light in a nondescript backyard - a contrast to the usual muted, romantic or dignified portrait backdrops ... she's not remotely vain or flirtatious ... a refreshing change in a portrait of a young woman ... You feel certain that whatever she's undecided about is fairly significant ...'

' ... Jane is a portrait of an Australian woman ... quintessentially Australian with her bleached hair, her slightly weather-beaten skin and her casual perch on a fence. She is not glamorous but there is a powerful raw beauty in the combination of elements in the portrait. The background against which she is portrayed is a perfect setting. A gallery piece ... it says something about our Aussie culture.'

'Captures someone's personality well and in an interesting natural setting ... the artist is most competent.'

'I've seen her in lots of women ... lovely and natural ... may have had a hard life ...'

'She looks natural and so relaxed - remarkable to catch this in a painting - real to life and casual.'