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Margaret Seares, 2018

by Cherry Hood

Margaret Seares, 2018 by Cherry Hood
Margaret Seares, 2018 by Cherry Hood

Margaret Seares AO (b. 1948), chair of the Perth International Arts Festival from 2012 to 2016 and senior deputy vice chancellor at the University of Western Australia from 2004 to 2008, began her academic career specialising in keyboard music of the eighteenth century. Having gained her doctorate from the University of Western Australia, she was head of its school of music from 1993 to 1995. Her career changed direction when she was offered a secondment to the state government to run what is now the Department of Culture and the Arts. She has since served as chair of the Australia Council, chair of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation’s Arts Advisory Committee and deputy chair of the West Australian Symphony Orchestra; in 2005, she chaired the National Review into School Music Education, spearheading a re-think of music curricula in Australian schools. From 2000 to 2006 she served on the board of the National Portrait Gallery. An Honorary Life Member of the Chamber of Arts and Culture, she has also served on the Education Investment Fund, the Chamber of Arts and Culture and the council of Bond University. Awarded the gold medal of the West Australian arm of the Australian Institute of Company Directors, she is a consistent and enthusiastic advocate for the new West Australian Museum.

Cherry Hood

‘When I make a portrait I do not – contrary to popular belief – attempt to portray the subject’s character or personality and I do not imagine that I paint her essence, let alone her soul! I do however need to feel empathy and connection to make the painting. It was a bit weird for Margaret I’m sure, but I had warned her that I would “stare at her a lot!” I had to know which expression was characteristic; which angle gave me her best likeness. I am, after all, only capable of making a likeness. I know each viewer will see something more than a memento of Margaret in a time and place. A portrait – be it a photograph or painting – will prompt recollections of her achievements into the future.’

Cherry Hood (b. 1950), is an artist well known for her haunting, large-scale images of faces. Working for preference in watercolour, which she allows to bleed and drip, Hood specialises in intense depictions of mostly anonymous subjects. With a studio based in the Southern Tablelands of NSW, she has embraced her landscape surrounds, sometimes incorporating it into her figurative works. In 2000, Hood gained her masters degree from Sydney College of the Arts with a thesis comprising an investigation of ‘gender politics and cultural mores and taboos surrounding the representation of the male body’. The following year she held her first solo exhibition at Mori Gallery, Sydney. Since then, she has exhibited in solo and group shows in Australia and internationally, including in the National Portrait Gallery’s Contemporary Australian Portraits in 2002. Following her Archibald Prize win in 2002 for her portrait, Simon Tedeschi unplugged, she won the Kedumba Drawing Award in 2003. Amongst her portrait subjects are painters Matthys Gerber, Ben Quilty and Michael Zavros, and pianist David Helfgott. Her portrait of Tedeschi is one of few relatively few Archibald winners in the collection of the National Portrait Gallery. Hood’s works are in leading state collections around Australia and in public and private collections around the world.

Commissioned with funds provided by the Sid and Fiona Myer Family Foundation 2018