James Guppy has just said his latest artworks portray "strong female energy" before blanching at the description. "That sounds a bit Byron Bayish to me but I can't think of a better word," he said. "My women are pretty feisty."
Guppy's exhibition at Brenda May Gallery in Waterloo consists of only six canvases, but his images of mythological women struck a chord with collectors.
Julien Playoust, boss of property investor AEH Group, who paid $18,000 for The Offering, even took the unusual step of emailing praise to the gallery. "I am somewhat shocked at how good that show is," he wrote.
Guppy, who grew up near the Welsh border, said his childhood was filled with the ancient dramas of mythology. Byron Bay, in contrast, is a pleasant place to live but has little influence on his work: "I live here because I love the beaches and hinterland. Bit it's an internal world I draw on for my art."
Meanwhile, a travelling retrospective of Guppy's work, Seduction and Subversion, opened at Manly Art Gallery & Museum last week. Guppy said the show has done wonders for his ego: "Every few months I fly to another regional gallery and get patted on the back and told how good I am which is nice. I am not going to turn that down."