Born Melbourne, 1962, lives and works in Melbourne.
Prudence Flint paints around six to seven painstaking oil-on-linen canvases a year that depict an internalised, novelistic world. Ostensibly populated by women, largely indoors, seated, lying down, in stylised pared-down rooms, or occasionally, in simplified outdoor settings, but still architectonic environments; formal gardens, parks, forests. Mostly alone, sometimes in small groups, Flint’s women, mostly, if doing anything, do little, or it appears so. They are dressed, mostly – neat skirts, ankle socks, cashmere sweaters, or underwear; matching, good quality bra and panty sets, sometimes disjunctive, yellow bra, red knickers. Sometimes women are captured washing, or in mid-ablute, showering, inserting contact lenses, brushing hair, sitting thinking or just sitting.
In a classic work from 2015, Sister, two (we assume) sisters – different hair colouring – feature together, sort of. One standing the other seated. Perhaps it’s the same person in temporal flux? No eye contact is established with the other or the viewer, but each looks (eyes directed towards, but perhaps without seeing much) to different parts of what might be a room, suggested primarily by a steeply angle tiled or carpet-tiled area. The only furniture otherwise designating the nature and/or purpose of the shallow space is a dressing screen, partially draped with two items of clothing, previously removed, or to be added. In this instance, no underwear matches, all disjunctive, with the standing figure’s spotted briefs graced with a small pink bow. The figures distorted, following a logic more akin to early or pre-renaissance compositions, than the strictures of Albertian, mimetic perspective. They still somehow allude to ‘real’ bodies, rather than mediated, re-touched or commodified images of women. There are numerous associations, art historical correlations, that can be drawn to Flint’s paintings, but none are either quite or entirely right, as her work is what it is, her work. It stands alone, but alongside the ideas of the Colombian painter Fernando Botero, the angularity of Katz, touches of Dorothea Tanning, but more-so Flint’s surrealism comes from its ‘normalness’, and is less consciously ‘strange’. Nothing-out-of-the-ordinary-to-see-here, move along…
Prudence Flint has worked within the Australian artworld for three decades, steadily arriving at significant national attention, winning numerous prizes and awards, including one of the world’s most valuable painting prizes, (The Doug Moran Prize 2017). And by joining mother’s tankstation in 2019, has only recently begun the journey to the internationalisation of her career. She is accordingly experiencing the critical acclaim due to an exceptional painter whose elegance of execution and originality of subject matter is arguably un-paralleled. Recent solo exhibitions include: The Call, mother’s tankstation, London (2021); The Wish, Fine Arts, Sydney (2020); The Visit, mother’s tankstation, Dublin (2019), with notable group exhibitions including, ME: An exhibition of Contemporary Self-Portraiture, High Line Nine, New York (2020), Archibald Prize, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney (2019 and 2018). Flint has been selected to participate in the upcoming 2023 NGV Triennial, opening 3 December 2023, at the National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne.