Naked Little portrait: What the artist was thinking

By Liz Wylie -
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RUGGED LOOKS: Whanganui artist Mark Rayner says his rug portrait of Andrew Little is not intended as a caricature of the Labour leader. PHOTO/FILE
RUGGED LOOKS: Whanganui artist Mark Rayner says his rug portrait of Andrew Little is not intended as a caricature of the Labour leader. PHOTO/FILE

Whanganui artist Mark Rayner says he is pleased to learn that opposition leader Andrew Little is amused by the artist's naked impression of him.

Rayner has depicted the Labour leader in full-frontal nudity with a well-muscled physique on a hooked rug and the piece is on display as a finalist in New Zealand's 25th Wallace Art Awards held in Auckland.

LITTLE RUG
LITTLE RUG

Speaking from London where he had just landed for a one month holiday, Rayner said he had no intention to lampoon Mr Little.

"The inspiration came from a portrait I did of John Key and that was inspired by comments made by Winston Peters," he said.

The comments by Mr Peters took place in parliament last year when he accused the Prime Minister of dying his hair and Mr key denied it.

"Well, why don't the curtains match the carpet then?" Peters retorted.

"I thought it was a fun play on words making a carpet depiction of that," Rayner said.

NATIONAL RUG
NATIONAL RUG


The resulting portrait titled "National Rug" also had a very "buff bod" and was eventually sold on Trade Me for almost $900 after it failed to sell at two gallery exhibitions.

Rayner said the Andrew Little work is a follow-on from the previous work and he does not intend to exhibit it in Whanganui after the conclusion of the Wallace Art Awards.

This is not the first time Rayner has been a finalist in the Wallace Art Awards and his 2014 entry was another rug portrait of convicted killer Helen Milner.

The portrait upset members of the murder victim's family and Rayner apologised to them saying that although the work was intended to be "unsettling" he never intended to cause offence to those close to the victim.

The naked Andrew Little on carpet piece is on display at Pah Homestead TSB Bank Wallace Arts Centre, where it will be judged by a panel.

The Annual Wallace Art Awards aim to support, promote and expose New Zealand contemporary art and artists.

Sir James Wallace established the Annual Wallace Art Awards 25 years ago.

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