Liam Nunan

A body over Wentworth Falls, 2023

101 × 101 cm
This painting is part of series of works I began last year called Insomnis. Similarly to A body over Wentworth Falls, they too depict nude sleeping male bodies falling or hovering over vast landscapes and city scapes. There is a duality to the meaning of these works. An ambiguity that invites the viewer to wonder ‘Is he floating? Or falling?’ On one level this motif serves as a visual representation for the alleviation of claustrophobia and insomnia I was experiencing over the pandemic lockdowns. At a time of extreme societal anxiety, loneliness, uncertainty and when our homes felt more like holding cells, our figure of free of confinement – calmly flying deep in slumber (as if via astral projection) over wilderness far from the chaos of our cities. On the other hand our figure could be falling. Serving as a cautionary tale – an allegory for the fall of man. Taking inspiration from the story of Icarus this figure plummets to earth either unknowingly or wilfully ignorant to their demise. A burgeoning bushfire in the distance heralds the beginning of the end.

Liam Nunan is a self-represented Sydney based painter. Having worked as an actor for over a decade, he began painting in 2018 and went on to win the Lester Portrait Prize the following year. Primarily self taught and best known for his portraiture, his application as a painter changes from day to day – from carefully constructed and crafted narratives to more gestural and emotionally intuitive responses. He paints in a number of different styles and over various different mediums. His work balances serene and dark motifs but always with a queer suggestibility.

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