The work of Atleigh Homma was compelling to the 2019 Jurors of the Kingston Portrait Prize as a unique contribution to the genre of portraiture in this competition. Homma’s portrait shows an awareness of an evolving and sometimes unresolved self identity. Equally, she demonstrates knowledge of a long artistic history of self-portraiture while searching for her place within it.
At first instance the painting appears casual and slightly haphazard. As you look deeply, this seemingly simple documentation of a young woman’s bedroom turns out to be layered, structurally complex and calculated. The viewer finds paintings within paintings, and readings about art and love to reveal different depictions of reality. The natural elements of the scene including the subjects folded legs, feet, torso, bed, table, background wall, table top surface, book, and plaid shirt add to a complex spatial construction. From a painterly perspective, the portrait demonstrates a lightness of touch akin to watercolour painting, yet beautifully navigates the inherent tension between the flat surface and the illusion of space in a visually dynamic yet stable composition.