Sunday, 2 January 2011

Hidden Portraits - Exhibition Preview

One of the great fascinations of our visual lives is people watching. Many of us spend time concerned with our own appearance and even more time observing the looks, movements, and perhaps the aura of other people. 'Hidden Portraits' considers what lies behind the exterior and investigates the concealed person.

The artists in this group show present many portrait and figurative styles, from the photorealistic to the abstract. There are also different interpretations of the theme; some artists look deep into facial detail and others show a faceless image and sugest a narrative from shape, colour or texture. Artists featuring in the exhibition are:

Alice Jones - sleep patterns are depicted in beautiful sensitive drawings. The images are biographical and expose what happens in one of our most private and intimate states of being.

Carl Melegari - deep textural layers and a calming palette are used to create an aura that surrounds unknown people. An identity emerges and a story develops that is very personal.

Russell Oliver - a combination of tightly painted realism and abandoned use of brushstroke and palette creates balance and conflict. The concealing of identity through foreground 'noise' and abstraction is in contrast to the precision on less important data, raising the question of how we identify people.

Harriet White - technically brilliant photo-realistic painting technique is combined with an eye for important detail to create the personality of the subject. Over scaled images encourage us to look beyond first impressions.

Paul Fenwick - there is an intensity in these portraits that creates an immediate impact. Beyond the colour is another story being told that challenges our obsession with first impressions.

Emily Kirby - emotion explodes from the expressions of the subjects. The vibrant colour and simple but significant lines leave us in no doubt about the high drama of the message.

Richard Twose - a remarkable talent for seeing beyond the surface and extracting the complex characteristics of people. Through using his daughter and her friends as subjects for this collection, we see familiar contradictions of teenage confidence, angst, and vulnerability.

Paul Bennett - a delicate touch with a powerful impact. These sad and somewhat tortured portraits are aesthetically beautiful with a simplicity of line that creates emotional intensity.

Jo Jones - bronze resin sculptures that are packed with expression using simple but striking lines and shapes.

Ulf Mark Pedersen - we welcome back a very versatile artist, who this time turns to video to interpret our theme with two 'people watching' films.

For details of more of our portrait and figurative artists, see our online portraiture brochure. As well as producing existing work, many artists apply their talents to commissions. Each artist works in a different way, so please contact us for more information on commissions.

'Hidden Portraits' opens on January 13th and runs through to February 27th.

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