Michael Zavros’s entry in Australia’s premier art prize has taken the myth of Narcissus and placed it in the most idyllic of suburban locations – the backyard swimming pool.
The Archibald finalist’s self-portrait titled Bad Dad is a take on the myth of Narcissus, most particularly Caravaggio’s depiction of the demi-God who couldn’t get enough of himself. By placing the self-obsessed father (himself) in a swimming pool, he draws on a number of other artistic touchstones, including works by Jeff Koons, but also highlights the fact that a swimming pool is the focus of Australian preoccupations – even if only in reflection.
Zavros says that in Bad Dad the doomed anti-hero doesn’t spurn the affections of a lover for his own reflection. Rather he rejects paternal care and the trials of domesticity.
The Archibald entrants are on display at the Art Gallery of NSW until June 2, after which they will be travelling around regional NSW until June 2014.