Close: Drawn Portraits

22 November 2018 – 3 February 2019

Mounira Al Solh, Frank Auerbach, Paul Cézanne, Virginia Chihota, Lucian Freud, Dryden Goodwin, Barbara Hepworth, David Hockney, Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres, Horst Janssen, Claudette Johnson, Michael Landy, Maria Lassnig, Joyce Pensato, Deanna Petherbridge, Francis Picabia, Pablo Picasso, Paula Rego, Nicola Tyson, Jessica Voorsanger and Clifton Wright

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    Maria Lassnig, Self Portrait 1962. Black chalk and gouache on paper, 54 x 74.5 cm Courtesy Omer Tiroche. © Maria Lassnig Foundation

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    Close: Drawn Portraits Installation photograph Courtesy of Drawing Room, 2018. Photographer Andy Keate.

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    Close: Drawn Portraits Installation photograph Courtesy of Drawing Room, 2018. Photographer Andy Keate.

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    Pablo Picasso, Tête 2 March 1943. Pen and ink on paper, 65.5 x 51cm Courtesy Omer Tiroche

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    Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres, Portrait of the Princess Murat 1814. Pencil on paper, 42 x 29.8 cm. Courtesy private collection.

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    Deanna Petherbridge, Self-Portrait (Hole in the head) 2000-2001 Pen, ink and wash on paper 76 x 57 cm Courtesy Private Collection

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    Frances Picabia, Jeune espagnole 1926 Pencil and watercolour on paper 24 x 18cm Private Collection

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    Paula Rego, Self Portrait III 2017, Pastel on paper, 59 x 42 cm Courtesy the artist and Marlborough Fine Art, London

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    Dryden Goodwin, A Day With My Father, A Day With My Son 2018. Pencil on paper, 1 of 41 drawings, variable dimensions. Courtesy the artist

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    Claudette Johnson, Seated Figure 1 2017. Pastel and gouache on paper, 163 x 123 cm. Courtesy the artist and Hollybush Gardens

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    Mounira Al Solh, I strongly believe in our right to be frivolous 2012 - ongoing. Mixed media drawing on legal paper, 28.6 x 21cm Courtesy the artist and Sfeir-Semler Gallery, Beirut/Hamburg.

Bringing together historic figures such as Ingres, Picasso and Hepworth, and recent and contemporary artists including Lassnig, Hockney and Landy, this exhibition reveals close encounters between artists and their subjects over the past 200 years. Remarkable drawn portraits, rarely seen, sit beside those made today, and demonstrate drawing’s enduring ability to bring characters to life.

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Drawing creates the illusion of presence. Using precise lines, Picasso and Freud capture a posed subject, whereas Hockney catches his sitter unaware in a calligraphic flourish of ink. Portraits of family members by Cézanne, Auerbach and Goodwin convey the sense of an intimately unfolding situation through multiple, restless pencil or charcoal lines. 

In self-portraits by Maria Lassnig and Nicola Tyson, evocative colours are used to express psychological states and bodily sensations. Landy, in contrast, conveys the demands of self-representation through spidery black lines that knit into staring eyes and a furrowed brow.

The individuality of Mounira Al Solh's migrant and refugee subjects is captured through experiments with style and medium. Drawn on yellow legal pads, they evoke not only an illusion of presence, but act as a material reminder of the contemporary human condition.

 

Exhibition supported by The Tavolozza Foundation.