The Archibald, Paddington’s newest gallery and more across the East this month

The Archibald, Paddington’s newest gallery and more across the East this month

Archibald season

Sydney painter Tony Costa’s portrait of artist Lindy Lee may have won this year’s Archibald Prize but Tessa MacKay’s depiction of actor David Wenham gazing from the window of a Sydney café (winner of the Packing Room Prize) is the one stealing audience hearts.

The hyperreal portrait of a pensive Wenham, titled Through the Looking Glass, was one of the last portraits to be unpacked and an instant winner in the eyes of head packer Brett Cuthbertson. Mackay’s painting shows Darlinghurst resident Wenham within a Newtown streetscape, not far from where he grew up. 

The portrait is one of several by local artists to feature in the famed portrait exhibition this year. Others include Woollahra’s Karyn Zamel (My Self), Edgecliff’s Sinead Davies (The Endocrinologist) and Paddington’s Laura Jones (Nakkiah in her Dressing Room).

More than 50 finalists are exhibited, whittled down from more than 900 entries. 

Art Gallery of NSW until September 8,

Art in the Five Ways

Fine art has arrived among the cafes and fashion boutiques of Paddington’s Five Ways, with the opening of Michael Commerford Gallery. 

The gallery, founded in 1986, and previously located in Double Bay, moved over summer to the new premises in the increasingly cosmopolitan retail and dining strip.

Owner Michael Commerford says the gallery will house the works of just three artists at any one time, to allow for an intense focus on the works of a select few.

Reni Küng

The gallery is currently showing the extraordinary light sculptures of Reni Küng, a collection of intricate automotive sculptures by James Corbett, and Michael Commerford’s own most recent collection, the esoteric, playful wildlife pieces he paints under the name of Vayu.

Commerford says that the work of the artists, and their very different use of media, combine to form a unique gallery experience. 

“Our works really complement each other in that they’re so different,” he says. “Seeing the different pieces together is a really engaging experience.” 

Kung, Corbett and Vayu have all featured in exhibitions across the globe and have attracted the attention of international, national and local art buyers.

Kung is best known for her matchstick wall-light installation at Surry Hills’ famed Toko restaurant. Corbett’s sculptures, one of which is housed in the Sydney Motor Sport Park, are exclusively made from car parts destined for the scrap yard. He welds the salvaged pieces together — some from vintage cars dating back to the 1920s — to create intricate sculptures of animals and people. 

219 Glenmore Rd, Paddington,

Sale season in the East

June is sale season across Sydney, so shoppers be prepared to get your wallets out. Moore Park’s Supa Centa is holding its annual June sale, with savings across more than 45 stores at the centre. A big bonus for family shoppers is Stay ’N Play’s complimentary baby-sitting for children over the age of three on June 1, 2, 29 and 30. Spots are available on a first in first served basis so, parents, get in early so you're free to shop and shop.

Juicy Lucy pops up

Juicy Lucy pop-up at The Regent Hotel

Chicken legends Juicy Lucy are taking over the kitchens at Kingsford’s The Regent Hotel for a three-month pop-up. Lovers of the cult chicken cutlet can sample Juicy Lucy’s menu of chicken diner staples with an Asian twist alongside the pub’s usual selection of beers, wine and cocktails. Nightly specials including $15 Wednesday burgers promise wallet-friendly eats for all. Juicy Lucy began life in Surry Hills but has gained a big following for its fried chicken with a difference. Worth the visit.

It's hip to be square: the amazing reinvention of our local libraries

It's hip to be square: the amazing reinvention of our local libraries

Dining: Clayton Wells' steamed vongole with sauce vierge

Dining: Clayton Wells' steamed vongole with sauce vierge