National Portrait Gallery announce Derek Boshier: Imaginary Portraits

. September 24, 2013

The National Portrait Gallery in London presents Derek Boshier: Imaginary Portraits an exhibition on view 28 September 2013 – May 2014.

David Bowie as the Elephant Man by Derek Boshier, 1980. ©Derek Boshier c/o Flowers Gallery. More Information: http://artdaily.com/news/65175/Portrait-of-David-Bowie-as-the-Elephant-Man-by-Derek-Boshier-to-be-exhibited-in-the-UK-for-the-first-time#.UkFcHyixrqU[/url] Copyright © artdaily.org

David Bowie as the Elephant Man by Derek Boshier, 1980. ©Derek Boshier c/o Flowers Gallery.
More Information: http://artdaily.com/news/65175/Portrait-of-David-Bowie-as-the-Elephant-Man-by-Derek-Boshier-to-be-exhibited-in-the-UK-for-the-first-time#.UkFcHyixrqU[/url]
Copyright © artdaily.org

Derek Boshier: Imaginary Portraits will feature 10 works from the artist’s ‘imaginary portraits’ series, including his oil-on-canvas portrait of David Bowie, which was painted in New York in 1980 while Bowie was rehearsing for his role in Bernard Pomerance’s play The Elephant Man at the city’s Booth Theatre. Based on the life of a nineteenth-century man who developed severe bodily deformities and travelled as a circus performer, the production required Bowie to distort his face and body, holding poses for long periods of time. It was Bowie’s first major theatre role and he received huge critical acclaim for his performance. He talked about the role with Boshier at the artist’s studio, resulting in the striking portrait of Bowie in character.

Derek Boshier (b.1937) was closely associated with the development of Pop Art in Britain in the early 1960s. With David Hockney, Allen Jones, Patrick Caulfield, R.B. Kitaj and Peter Phillips, he was included in the 1961 Young Contemporaries exhibition held at the RBA Galleries, London, that marked the appearance of the new art movement. From the outset, Boshier’s art combined social commentary with a rich imaginative element, with portraiture being an important theme throughout. He works in various media, including painting, drawing, sculpture and film.

Derek Boshier: Imaginary Portraits showcases an aspect of the artist’s work that involves depictions of invented people or representations of real individuals that incorporate fantasy. Early works on display include two portraits of Bowie and one of the painter Malcolm Morley, which were based on observation from life but then developed imaginatively. Later works include a series of drawings in which the artist depicts himself in a variety of different roles and contexts. The most recent work on show in the display is Black Dog (2009): a large painting which depicts a fragmented figure and represents, according to Boshier, ‘a symbol of self-identification.’

National Portrait Gallery, St Martin’s Place WC2H 0HE, opening hours Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Saturday, Sunday: 10am – 6pm (Gallery closure commences at 5.50pm) Late Opening: Thursday, Friday: 10am – 9pm (Gallery closure commences at 8.50pm) Nearest Underground: Leicester Square/Charing Cross General information: 0207 306 0055 Recorded information: 020 7312 2463 Website www.npg.org.uk

Category: Museum News

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