Long listed for the 2018 Royal Society of Portrait Painters Annual Exhibition
Portrait of Suzanne, operating a vintage mechanical letterpress.
Her body leans into the lever exerting a force to manipulate the machine. Suzanne’s slight features are revealed by the light filtered through the workshop windows. The viewer witnesses the scene from a low vantage point, hemmed in to glimpse the strength required by her body to work the heavy black metal mechanism. The strenuous physical labour involved in using this traditional manual working practice is transferred into precise and refined decorative letterpressed papers.
This painting juxtaposes the soft and limber human body with a hard and fixed industrial machine. It reflects how women work physically to create bespoke pieces in a modern era, repurposing out-dated tools once used for mass printing for a more individual and artisan purpose.
It celebrates the strength and determination to create work of value and substance. The colours throughout are representative of the fall of light, the lingering chemicals and energy of the scene.
Limbs elongated to emphasise the sideways pushing motion, the painting offers an interpretation of reality, focusing the viewer on the action Suzanne will repeat throughout the day.
It is a lively and positive portrait of a creative woman at work today.
In a private collection
Acrylic on Linen
Signed on reverse