The Art Circus Looks At – The Portrait


Having a portrait painted was once a luxury afforded to the elite. The wealthier and more powerful the subject, the larger the painting and the rarer the colours used. Dressed in fancy attire and shown amongst their wealth, their property or their land, this was the way the subject would be remembered through history – dictated by themselves with very little evidence to contradict.

With the introduction of photography and the belief that it would replace drawing and painting, some portrait painters switched to photography whilst others became obsessed with capturing the sitter. Rather than having a paying sitter, the artist would use family, friends, muses, lovers and quite often, the artist themselves. To stand out, many artists established a niche behind their practice whether the style and medium of the work or type of sitters from whom they took their inspiration.

What draws an artist to dedicate their practice to the portrait? To spend their life studying faces that stare back at them? Maybe it’s the satisfaction of capturing someone’s presence or the need to document the quirky aesthetics the human face offers?

The following is a collection of works exploring the portrait in a fresh and striking way.


Pictures shown from left to right, starting from the top

Jasmin Page Dave acrylic on canvas,195 x 5 x 150 cms, 2010 Miguel Laino Unamuno, acrylic on canvas, 2012 Fipsi Seilern oil on canvas Andris Wood Profile Picture, oil on canvas, 2012 Denise Nestor Shaun Dooley, portrait pencil on vector, 201 x 297 mm  Brogan Ramm The Rehearsal pinhole camera obscura, 83 x 83 cm Sally Kindberg Terracotta Duo I, oil on linen, 80 x 60 x 3 cm, 2013 Lisa Scrimgeour Portrait, oil on canvas, 2012 Melodie Cook Il Principe Tranquillo, pastel, charcoal ink on paper, 99 x 79 cm Nina Mae Fowler Carla’s Mum, Pencil + mixed media, 125 x 91 cm, 2012 Jennifer Maidment Gemma, oil on board, 2013 Daisy Clarke Woman with husky, oil on canvas, 2012 Donald Short Pond Life, oil on canvas, 36 x 27 cm, 2012 Annie Hall Simon, charcoal and graphite 163 x 114 cms, 2012  Silvie Jacobi Mädchen, 50 x 40 x 2 cms, 2013 Marina Jijina Face Study 6, oil on canvas, 60 x 45 cm, 2012 Sal Jones Not Really, No, oil on linen, 70 x 100 x 4 cms, 2013 Jasmine Page Dave acrylic on canvas,195 x 5 x 150 cms, 2010 Eleanor Mccaughey Gemma, oil on canvas, 2012