Mess Books is an Australian publisher and creative practice with an interest in contemporary art, photography, design, architecture and society.
Lester 23: Annual Publication
Art Direction, Design, Editing, Copy Editing, Print Production
Lester 23 is a celebration of this year’s 40 finalist artworks and the portraiture art form, featuring contributions from the prize finalists, arts industry stalwart and judge Alan Dodge and Boorloo/Perth-based artist and writer Imogen Kotsoglo—as well as a series of artist conversations with ABC Radio Perth journalist Emma Wynne.
Featured on the cover is Watching test cricket in England, from Australia, a collaborative work by Stephen Brameld and Jay Staples. Brameld and Staples have become known for their practice of painting simultaneously on to the same canvas, which they describe as “an attempt to drive the work away from a linear form of expression”. Their painting here, while technically a self-portrait of Brameld immersed in a televised cricket match, might be read instead as a figure staring into a blank void—a screen, a space, a canvas, even the future? What might we project here? The work is a reminder that, when we bend, concentrate, or reconsider our view, the mundane can be transformed into the magical.
In his introduction to the book, Dodge asks “What makes the perfect portrait?”, contemplating both his intrigue as an art lover and his role as a judge. In turn, Kotsoglo explores the wonder of being seen, and the incredible power of a portrait to teach us about ourselves and each other.
Commissioned by and co-published with The Lester Prize.