Sydney based painter Mitch Cairns presents three large paintings and a series of text works as part of The National 2021: New Australian Art. One painting, Self-Portrait as an Autumnal Low, which depicts two autumn trees, hangs on a brick wall measuring the same height as the artist’s studio which Cairns built with his father over two days. Cairns worked as a labourer for his brick-laying father whilst he was at the National Art School and the wall is a reference to the relationship between art and life that has followed his career.
Created from February 2020 until March 2021, Cairns’ installation reflects uncertainty and anxiety in the face of a changing world. Domestic in setting and psychological and intuitive in context, the paintings utilise his now familiar layered and refracted style.