27 May to 10 September 2017 at Nottingham Castle Museum & Art Gallery, Lenton Road, Nottingham, NG1 6EL. Tel: 0115 8761400
The portrait has continued to be one of the most recognised, revisited, and arguably the most celebrated art forms throughout history. Exclusive to Nottingham Castle, this exhibition demonstrates how classical and traditional figurative portraiture continues to inspire artists today, and remains relevant within contemporary artistic discourse.
Reportrait presents thirteen artists who have reimagined historical sources, altered or disrupted typical notions of how the portrait is defined, or used an image or reproduction as a starting point to create something new.
Consisting of new commissions made in direct response to Nottingham City Museums & Galleries collections, alongside loans, and works straight from the artist’s studios, the exhibition showcases painting, photography, installation, digital art, sculpture, video and drawing, many of which have never been seen in public before.
Glenn Brown, Matthieu Leger and Jake Wood-Evans explicitly use iconography of past nobility, aristocracy, government dignitaries and forgotten figures within their paintings, reworking, glitching and interfering with historic artworks in unique ways that leave deceptive hints of the original source intact.
Julie Cockburn and Samin Ahmadzedah use photographic weaving and embroidery techniques to intervene with family archives or found images, presented alongside collection items or as a large-scale wall-based installation.
James E Smith and Jasleen Kaur have both subverted traditional ideas of figurative sculpture. Smith documents an uncomfortable and highly intimate relationship between artist and sitter through film and 3D printing, whereas Kaur has cast a trio of busts in hand-marbled plastic, drawing on parallels between Indian devotional sculpture and traditional Western portrait busts.
Antony Micallef distorts his own image to the extreme by manipulating and pushing thickly applied (impasto) paint upon the canvas surface. The result is a collection of fleshy, sculptural and beautifully grotesque self-portraits.
Paul Stephenson paints directly upon 18th century paintings bought from auction, making palimpsests which comment on the way we consume imagery second-hand through the lens or the shiny screen of mobile devices.
Sasha Bowles removes all human features from Old Master paintings and replaces them with strange growths and alien forms. Her mischievous interventions are presented within a mobile ‘museum’ based on the Castle’s Long Gallery, inviting the viewer into a more intimate setting to view art.
Maisie Broadhead and Annie Kevans both use portraiture to draw our attention to overlooked female artists, salvaged from the archives of patriarchal art history, or to how we consider the role of women in history and in contemporary society.
Philip Gurrey samples, borrows and plays homage to painters and paintings by creating new, often surreal faces that have been constructed from various elements and time periods.