We are delighted to announce an exhibition of new paintings by Chantal Joffe. The subjects of these works are critically-acclaimed writers: poets, essayists, art historians, and art critics, alongside young writers who Joffe paints and interprets on board or on canvas in a series of individual portraits of writers who have made the act of writing their work and their identity.
Joffe’s portraits depict writers across a variety of literary genres and approaches to literature: Jay Bernard poet, writer and winner of the Sunday Times Young Writers Award 2020, alongside Ted Hughes Award 2017), Anne Boyer (poet, writer and recipient of the Pulitzer Prize 2020 for non-fiction), Annie Freud (poet, artist, editor and teacher who was shortlisted for the TS Eliot Prize in 2010), Imogen Greenhalgh (editor and art critic), Katy Hessel (art historian and founder of the instagram blog @thegreatwomenartists), Hettie Judah (writer and art historian), Lauren John Joseph (writer, playright, screenwriter and artist), Nicole Krauss (novelist), Olivia Laing (novelist, art critic and recipient of the Windham-Campbell Prize for non-fiction 2018), Patricia Lockwood (poet, writer and finalist for the Booker Prize 2021), Ottessa Moshfegh (novelist, short story writer, shortlisted for the Booker Prize 2016), Maggie Nelson (poet, scholar, and nonfiction writer), Sally Rooney (novelist and screenwriter), Hanya Yanagihara (novelist and editor), and Alison White (writer).
Joffe is known for her portraits, painted in a fluid style, with which she captures the emotions, weaknesses, and vitality of human existence. Her subjects frequently depict girls, adolescents and women seen in different moments of life. The artist depicts them with a gaze that is halfway between the immediacy of a snapshot and a situation of emphatic distortion. These studies of the human condition express no judgement but appear one after the other with great energy and engagement, also because of the bold rejection of any formal order. The psychological intensity of the figures makes our very opinion ambiguous, disturbing, and gratifying us at the same time.
Born in 1969, Chantal Joffe lives and works in London. She holds an MA from the Royal College of Art and was awarded the Royal Academy Woollaston Prize in 2006. She has exhibited in major spaces such as the Foundling Museum, London, UK (2020); Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art, Edinburgh, Scotland (2019); Whitechapel Gallery, London (2018); The Lowry, Salford (2018); Royal Academy of Arts, London (2018, 2017); National Museum of Iceland, Reykjavik (2016); National Portrait Gallery, London (2015); Jewish Museum New York (2015) Jerwood Gallery, Hastings (2015); Collezione Maramotti, Reggio Emilia (2014); Saatchi Gallery, London (2013-2014); MODEM Hungary (2012); Mackintosh Museum, Glasgow (2012); Turner Contemporary, Margate (2011); Neuberger Museum of Art, New York (2009); University of the Arts, London (2007); Royal Academy of Arts, London (2005); Bloomberg Space (2004). Joffe has created a major new public work for the Elizabeth line station at Whitechapel. Titled A Sunday Afternoon in Whitechapel, the work will be on view when the Crossrail station opens in Spring 2022.