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Eye to eye

Daily from Saturday 14 December 2019 until Sunday 16 February 2020
Miranda Otto, 1997 Montalbetti+Campbell
Miranda Otto, 1997 Montalbetti+Campbell

Eye to Eye is a summer Portrait Gallery Collection remix arranged by degree of eye contact – from turned away with eyes closed all the way through to right-back-at-you – as we explore artists’ and subjects’ choices around the direction of the gaze. The progression of visages is designed to prompt the senses, tapping into the endless subjectivity of being human. Where one viewer sees a subject’s distant stare as baleful, another perceives a fatalistic cheer; here’s a face in three quarter profile pondering past triumphs, or perhaps you sense a layer of barely-there regret? Does the full stare with smouldering countenance shock or seduce, or is it a bit of both? Whether sparking familiarity, empathy, diffidence or reverence, our summer collection show invites you to slow down – to see eye to eye with another life and imagine that lived experience. Eye to Eye features portraits of Natalie Imbruglia, Kev Carmody, Miranda Otto, David Williamson, a marble bust of Peter Garrett and many more, including several works new to the collection.

64 portraits in the exhibition

1Glenn Murcutt, 1992 Ken Done. 2Natalie Imbruglia, 1999 Polly Borland. 3Songman, portrait of Kev Carmody, 2006 Peter Hudson. 4The Vivisector - David Williamson, 2017 Danelle Bergstrom. 5Bust of Peter Garrett, 1991-2016 Peter Schipperheyn. 6The Witching Hour - Elena Kats-Chernin, 2017 Wendy Sharpe.
© National Portrait Gallery 2020
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WARNING: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander viewers are warned that this website contains images of deceased persons.