The Vivisector – David Williamson, 2017
oil on canvas
150 cm x 180 cm
  • Collection: National Portrait Gallery, Canberra

One of Australia’s National Living Treasures, David Williamson, is the most prolific, awarded and commercially successful playwright in the history of Australian theatre, with his successful career spanning almost 50 years.

Several of his plays have been televised or adapted for film including “Don’s Party”, “Eliza Fraser”, “Gallipoli”, “Pharlap”, “The year of living Dangerously” and “Balibo”. 

David who studied psychology, writes about human foibles focusing on the rituals of social behaviour. He expresses in his work an understanding of our social history, current circumstances and the complexities of human nature with psychological fascination and a sharp and clever wit. 

The title of this work “The Vivisector” was suggested by David. I thought it was perfect with a prickly reference to Patrick White’s novel about the relationship between an artist and his work. 

David Williamson observes, listens and watches. He is acutely aware of all that surrounds him and the endless potential for material and possibilities  to create more unique, timely and perceptive stories.

I have always admired David’s work and I feel absolutely enriched by this experience.  He also showed me great understanding and sensitivity toward an often neurotic creative process.  

Artist Statement, 2017