Throughout history portraiture has been a means for creating a likeness of a person; a bellwether for emerging technologies; a magnet for material experimentation; and an exploration of social status. The ancient Greeks produced portraits of both gods and important citizens; during the Renaissance artists were commissioned to paint portraits of nobles and royals.
To this day, portraiture has both expressed the breadth of social experience and highlighted the gaps between social strata. Contemporary portraiture, more so than that of any other time, has embraced portraiture on a viral level, using it to express who we are and what we stand for.
The works in this exhibition are in some ways keeping with tradition – works depict either iconic figures from history or study a more archetypal range of emotions and identities. However, in other ways the works represented speak in a fresh voice, to the material and cultural minutia of this moment.