Siobhán Hapaska, Face Value
Abbot Hall Art Gallery, London, UK
27 March – 13 June 2015
An exhibition of portraiture from the Arts Council Collection
Face Value: Portraiture from the Arts Council Collection
27 March - 13 June 2015
Showing works by around 30 artists, working over the last century. Included is Tracey Emin’s early autobiographical video work Why I Never Became a Dancer. Self-portraits by other artists are also examined, including works by Sarah Lucas, Maud Sulter and Donald Rodney that challenge conventional stereotypes, contrasted with more traditional self-portraits by earlier artists such as David Bomberg and Mark Gertler. Other themes explored in the exhibition include looking at ways portraits can, by concentrating on a specific aspect of the sitter’s life - such as Vanessa Bell’s The Cook, Bernard Meninsky’s Portrait of a Girl and William Roberts’ A Gypsy Girl - remove an important part of their individual identity. Portraiture can deceive and can be used both to assert and to deny identity.
Abbot Hall is already blessed with a nationally significant collection of portraits, ranging from the 17th century triptych The Great Picture of Lady Anne Clifford, through a series of works by Romney, including The Gower Family, and several important 20th century works, including Frank Auerbach’s JYM in the Studio VII, David Bomberg’s portrait of Jeremy Newmark, Mark Gertler’s portrait of Marjorie Gertler, Kitaj’s Poet, Pasmore’s Seated Figure, The Maid: Florence Head, Paula Rego’s Triptych, Stanley Spencer’s portrait of Daphne Charlton and Ben Nicholson’s 1932 (Crowned Head – The Queen).