This group exhibition has contemporary portrait painting as its theme: portraits in which the ambiguity of the sitter’s own character raises questions about the nature of individuality and uniqueness.
Unknown Sitter mixes direct pictorial appropriation and socio-political commentary - some point toward mystical and enigmatic qualities, bordering on the sitter’s possible metaphysical transformation (or their desperate inability to achieve it). Denied of flattery, or any other intended admiration as portraits, the sitter suggests a range of emotional responses in relation to their implied predicaments.
These portraits question the genre and its associations while embracing many of its conventions. Tradition proposes that the sitter ought to be known to the artist but in these paintings direct responses to the sitter’s individuality go for a wander, the artist’s skill, system, painterly expression - the thrust of painterly knowingness - gains control and the result is a vigorous, expressive painting that defies the rules of definition for portraiture, achieving a cleverly painted, concise and subjective statement of observation.