It's the Zoom era of dressing - pyjamas on the bottom, business suit on the top. Kind of the sartorial equivalent of the mullet - business in the front, party in the back.
Canberra artist Narelle Zeller has captured this netherworld between work and home in a portrait of her husband Sam dressed ready for his Zoom meeting in business shirt and tie, but with pyjamas on the bottom and dressing gown over the top until hitting the launch button. (An a fabulously cosy hat on just to top off the WFH vibe.)
Ms Zeller's stunningly realistic oil painting, which includes their dog Boo, has struck a chord, selected as one of 40 finalists in WA's premier portrait prize, The Lester Prize.
The portrait is called Brave New Worker.
"Inspiration for this piece came one winter morning when I saw my husband Sam standing by the window light," she said.
"Looking upwards with his hair unkempt and grown freely, he stood rugged up and comfortable in his pyjamas and dressing gown, but ready for that inevitable Zoom meeting. Adoring the abundance of company, our dog Boo sat by his side.
"This is a 2020 portrait of working from home during the pandemic lockdown. It is about finding and embracing the positives that imposed change can bring amongst difficult circumstances.
"It is about appreciating the little things, spending more time with family and importantly an ode to day pyjama wear."
The painting has already been shown in the International Biennial Portrait Competition at the Wausau Museum of Contemporary Art in the United States, where it received an honourable mention.
The 2020 work is still relevant today as much of Australia in 2021 is back in lockdown.
Ms Zeller is a contemporary realist oil painter who lives in Holt. Her husband Sam works for the ACT government. They have both been working from home during this lockdown. Their 15-year-old son and 19-year-old daughter, a retail worker, are also at home in lockdown.
Ms Zeller said Sam did not mind being the world seeing him in his PJs/work attire combo.
"He loves it," she said.
"We've been doing a lot of work from home and just trying to look at the bright side, having more time at home together as a family."
Ms Zeller's oil paintings "explore the beauty of the human condition and our environment, drawing inspiration from the people around her and her own personal life experience".
Her work is incredibly detailed.
"A painting can take quite a few months. Sam's one took about four months," she said.
"I work full-time as an artist and a lot of hours every day and it's pretty slow going but I love it."
The 40 finalists' works in the Lester Prize will be on public display at the Art Gallery of Western Australia from October 16 to November 29.
The main winner will be announced on October 15, with the selected artist receiving $50,000. More than 750 entries were received from across Australia.
"It's huge, it's very exciting," Ms Zeller said of being selected.
"I was a finalist a couple of years ago and I got to go to the event, which was amazing.
"You can't ask for a better venue and they put on a really good event for the artists, it's a shame I won't be able to get there this year."
To see all the finalists, go to www.lesterprize.com
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