A gallery of clay figures; posed, painted, dressed. All different, but at the same time strikingly similar. One face in many disguises?
This gallery of characters forms part of the exhibition Jealous Saboteurs — a survey of work by Francis Upritchard, a New Zealand-born, London-based artist. They are clever and whimiscal — drawing on motifs and imagery from many sources.
In sculptures of the human form, the eyes are almost always blank — there is no discernible pupil or iris to give us the visual cues we draw from living people. So if eyes are “the window to the soul” — how do we read statues?
Without the clues provided by body and clothing, what can we say about these figures, who all seem to share the same facial features. Can we discern, or perhaps imagine, emotions? Is it possible to create meaningful portraits of a statue? I’m interested in your views.
The title is from Robert Louis Stevenson, who said:
It is not likely that posterity will fall in love with us, but not impossible that it may respect or sympathize; so a man would rather leave behind him the portrait of his spirit than a portrait of his face. — Robert Louis Stevenson