At only 32 years of age, Natasha Bieniek has been awarded the Wynne prize for landscape painting, the Portia Geach Memorial award for portrait painting and the Metro art award, has been a five time finalist in the Archibald prize, a three time finalist in the Doug Moran National Portrait prize and has been shortlisted in many others.
Impressive as that is, what's more amazing about Bieniek’s work is its size. Her winning Wynne prize painting 'Biophilia' was only 9cm square and her portrait of Wendy Whiteley, which was highly commended by the trustees in the 2016 Archibald prize, is only 13.5cm x 18.5cm.
She is without doubt a master of the miniature.
Bieniek has exhibited in six solo shows, across Australia and overseas, and in many group shows. The National Portrait Gallery held an exhibition in 2014, ‘In the Flesh’, where 14 of her miniature portraits were included, borrowed from private collections.
In our conversation, Bieniek reveals how it was not all smooth sailing at the beginning and talks about how nature in the urban environment has inspired her work. She also provides details about her process which reveal the intensive labour involved in creating her exquisite paintings.
To hear Maria Stoljar's conversation with Natasha Bieniek press 'play' above and scroll down to see the works they talk about on the podcast
Video of Natasha Bieniek in her studio can be seen on YouTube here
* Sydney Contemporary, Sydney, as part of a group show curated by Dianne Tanzer and This Is No Fantasy - September 2017
Links to things and people we talk about on the show
* Natasha Bieniek at This is No Fantasy + Dianne Tanzer Gallery
* Natasha Bieniek at Jan Murphy Gallery
* Natasha Bieniek on Instagram
* Victoria Reichelt
* Wynne Prize
* Portia Geach Memorial Award
* Archibald Prize
* Michael Brand
* Wendy Whiteley
* Wendy Whiteley and the Secret Garden by Janet Hawley
* Brett Whiteley
* Natasha Bieniek talks with Maria Stoljar in her studio on the Talking with Painters YouTube channel (below)
'Wendy Whiteley', 2016, oil on wood, 13.5 x 18.5cm, finalist Archibald prize 2016
Detail of 'Wendy Whiteley'
'Biophilia', 2015, oil on dibond, 9 x 9cm, winner of Wynne prize 2015
'Sahara' 2014, oil on wood, 13.5 x 18.5cm, winner of Portia Geach Memorial Award 2015
'Jennifer (St Columba Falls, Pyengana)', 2017, oil on dibond, 9 x 14cm
'Eleanor', 2015, oil on dibond, 9 x 9cm
'Gardenia', 2014, oil on wood, 6 x 8cm
'Kumiko' 2016, oil on dibond, 9 x 14cm