As is the case with the majority of university art collections, a key collecting area for the UTS Art Collection is the official portraits of our leaders.  But this recent acquisition is a portrait of a different type – one that combines celebrity and personal narrative to examine male icons, loss and longing.

I can’t quite give him up is part of an ongoing series by Deb Mansfield. She has quite literally spliced two images,  a fold in the canvas taking up the overlapped space in between them. The top half is a reproduction of a classic headshot of the author Ernest Hemingway in a chunky rollneck. The second, overlaying, image of a sailor’s guernsey jumper floating above the sea. A stand-in for the artist’s own grandfather, the image aligns with the archetype of the lone male sailor in Hemingway’s novella The Old Man and the Sea.

The rough texture of the digital tapestry and addition of a small cast brass ‘eyepiece’ fashioned from an electrical plug adds to the maritime story.

I can’t quite give him up was purchased for the UTS Art Collection following last year’s exhibition The Mnemonic Mirror that was held at the UTS Gallery. I can’t quite give him up is on display in the UTS Tower foyer along with other new additions to the Collection, until early next year.


Janet Ollevou


U Mag September 2017
Art & U profiles a piece of work from the UTS Art Collection every issue

Deb Mansfield