Portrait of former mayor to be on show in Gympie
A STRIKING portrait of long-serving former mayor John Nugent will feature in the Gympie Regional Gallery from Friday as part of the Bendigo Bank Andrew Fisher Portrait Prize competition.
It is the work of Raceview artist Rodney Greenstreet, whose mother-in-law is Mr Nugent's wife Elizabeth.
"I've known John for a long period of time. When I asked him to be the subject, he said why would you want to pick me? I said well, I need someone who has achieved things for the community so I thought of you," Mr Greenstreet said with a laugh, acknowledgement of how a portrait of Mr Nugent would fit the award criteria perfectly.
"John's vision for the region has given Ipswich key services, attracted business investment, promoted cultural issues and has protected the environment.
"But it wasn't until I started asking him a lot of questions that I realised that he got an honorary doctorate from the University of Queensland, I knew of his Order of Australia medal and he also has a Paul Harris Fellowship for his 15 years of service to the Goodna Rotary Club."
Titled Fabric of a Man, parts of the suit come through the artwork, featuring three buttons representing his OAM, Fellowship award and his honorary doctorate.
"I've incorporated those things into the portrait," Mr Greenstreet said. "The portrait is from the back. John is looking forward as he does, forward to the future.
"On his back is part of Nerima Gardens and a rendition of a photograph taken by a QT photographer many years ago of John in a field with a surveyor.
"Other people aren't going to get that, they will just look at the face, but I tried to make a story because I think it was worth telling."
Mr Greenstreet has been working on the portrait for the past month.
"I had a sitting with John and I managed to get a photograph of John with the light hitting his face, quite harshly actually, because as an artist I wanted to bring out his features, because he looks quite chiselled, a great face for a portrait artist."
Mr Greenstreet is a member of Arts Connect and has works showing in Ipswich at the new Inspirations Gallery.