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Dichotomia, Barry Otto
, 2008

by Peter Brew-Bevan

type C photograph (frame: 129.0 cm x 129.0 cm depth 7.5 cm, image: 100.0 cm x 100.0 cm)

Barry Otto (b. 1941), film and stage actor, was nominated for AFI awards for Bliss (1985) and The More Things Change (1986) before receiving the Best Supporting Actor award for Strictly Ballroom (1992). He was later nominated for Cosi (1996). His subsequent films include Oscar and Lucinda (1997), Australia (2008), The Great Gatsby (2013) and The Dressmaker (2015). On stage, Otto appeared in Neil Armfield’s first Nimrod production, Upside Down at the Bottom of the World (1979), Barrie Kosky’s two-part Faust for the Melbourne Theatre Company (1993) Judy Davis’s production of Barrymore (1999) and Moliere’s Tartuffe at the Malthouse Theatre in 2008. Otto’s plaque in the ‘Theatre Walk’ at Walsh Bay on Sydney Harbour was unveiled in December 2010. Recently seen in the television series Rake (2016) and Sisters (2017), he is the subject of a forthcoming documentary, Otto on Otto, made by his daughter Gracie Otto.

Otto has been a keen painter since his Brisbane boyhood. He entered a portrait of his daughter, Miranda, also an actor, in the Archibald Prize in early 2009, and has recently shown more than thirty works in the exhibition A Romantic Obsession at Artsite Gallery, Camperdown. Otto’s dual interests explain Peter Brew-Bevan’s choice of the Latin word dichotomia, meaning a dividing of the whole into two parts, for the title of his portrait.

Collection: National Portrait Gallery
Gift of the artist 2010
Accession number: 2010.71