Portrayals brings together more than 45 original paintings and drawings by some of the country’s most celebrated twentieth century and contemporary artists, including Barbara Hepworth, L.S. Lowry, and Chris Ofili. The specially curated exhibition opens in Banbury Museum & Gallery this November – the most ambitious display the organisation has ever staged and the first time so many works by artists of this stature can be viewed together in the town.
Selected to appeal to people-watchers and art lovers alike, Portrayals focuses on people, and the varied ways they have been depicted by 34 different artists across the last century. The exhibition includes traditional seated portraits alongside more casual scenes of people at work and at leisure – in the barbers, at the beach or heading off to the pub. The display spans over a hundred years, from Walter Sickert’s 1906 ‘Head of a Woman’ to Claudette Johnson’s 2018 portrayal of the form, figure and strength of Black womanhood in ‘Figure in Blue’.
Further highlights from the exhibition include: David Hockney’s ‘Portrait Surrounded by Artistic Devices,’ ‘Study for ‘Christopher Isherwood and Don Bachardy’’ and ‘We Two Boys Together Clinging; works by three Turner Prize winners – Chris Ofili, Antony Gormley and Howard Hodgkin – as well as a further four Turner Prize nominees; and original drawings and paintings by Barbara Hepworth and Henry Moore.
Portrayals has been made possible through loans secured from the Arts Council Collection, the world’s largest loan collection of modern and contemporary British art. The loans are supported by the Weston Loan Programme with Art Fund. Created by the Garfield Weston Foundation and Art Fund, the Weston Loan Programme is the first ever UK-wide funding scheme to enable smaller and local authority museums to borrow works of art and artefacts from national collections.
Simon Townsend, Director of Banbury Museum & Gallery states: “This exhibition is a statement, that illustrates just what we can do together. It is such a privilege to bring this astonishing collection of work to the Pye Gallery and Banbury, which has been made possible through partnership with Arts Council Collection, with support from the Garfield Weston Foundation and Art Fund. I am sure that we will be able to build upon this landmark exhibition to enrich our outstanding town and region.”
Sophia Weston, Trustee of the Garfield Weston Foundation, said: “This exhibition offers an exciting opportunity to view exceptional works by the leading artists. The Weston Loan Programme aims to bring important loans to regional organisations and I am delighted to support the display of these treasures in Oxfordshire”.