Friday, 20 March 2009

Balaclava Women and Other Portraits

A selection of my drawings and paintings - 'Balaclava Women and Other Portraits' - is currently being exhibited at Bishopsgate Dental Care, 36 Spital Square, London, E1 6DY (phone 020 7377 6762)

My recent series of drawings – the Balaclava Women – are portraits of women wearing balaclavas and other head coverings (see blog entries below). I’m interested in how women conceal and reveal themselves, and the cultural ambiguities of wearing a headscarf, hat or balaclava. These portraits are drawn with pencil on ‘Rips’ cigarette papers – I use this ephemeral and fragile material, at a tiny scale, for many of my drawings as it underlines the intimacy and vulnerability of the subject matter. Also represented at Bishopsgate are two drawings from my series of Suffragette Portraits, a subject that, for me, resonates strongly today, particularly in the violence conducted with and to women’s own bodies. Two miniature oil paintings of women with bird-feather-like hair and downcast eyes simultaneously attract our attention, but also exclude us. My work explores an ongoing interest in portraiture used to convey the conflict between our public and our hidden, inaccessible interior life.

Portrait eyes down (blue), oil paint on board.

Portrait eyes down (red), oil paint on wood.

Anonymous Suffragette, pencil on paper, framed.

Anonymous Suffragette (blue), coloured pencil on paper, framed.

For pictures of the 'Balaclava Women' exhibited at Bishopsgate Dental Care see my earlier posts of 'Balaclava Women', or click on the label 'balaclava' in the label list.