Chantal Joffe

John Berryman

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Year 2020
Medium Ink on rice paper
Dimensions 38 x 26 cm
Top pick Aaron Cezar, Director of Delfina Foundation

About the work

I was thinking about Guston’s ink drawings while reading Berryman’s letters, and this is what I ended up drawing.

About the artist:

Born 1969 St. Albans, Vermont, Chantal Joffe lives and works in London. Graduated from Foundation Course, Camberwell School of Arts and Crafts (1988); B.A. (Hons) Fine Art, Glasgow School of Art (1991); and M.A. Fine Art, Royal College of Art, London (1994).

Joffe brings a combination of insight and integrity, as well as psychological and emotional force, to the genre of figurative art. Hers is a deceptively casual brushstroke. Whether in images a few inches square or ten feet high, fluidity combined with a pragmatic approach to representation seduces and disarms. Almost always depicting women or girls, sometimes in groups but recently in iconic portraits, Joffe’s paintings only waveringly adhere to their source – be it a photograph, magazine page or even a reflection in the mirror – instead reminding us that distortions of scale and form can often make a subject seem more real.

Her works are held in public and private collections including Arts Council of England; EMMA – Espoo Museum of Modern, Helsinki; Fonds National d’Art Contemporain; The Guggenheim Museum, New York; National Portrait Gallery, London; The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; The Saatchi Collection, London; Zabludowicz Collection, London; and Albright-Knox Art Gallery, New York.

Selected solo exhibitions include Chantal Joffe: Story, Victoria Miro, London (2020); Chantal Joffe: For Esme – With Love and Squalor, Arnolfini, Bristol (2020); Personal Feeling is the Main Thing – Chantal Joffe, The Lowry, Salford (2018); Using Walls, Floors, and Ceilings: Chantal Joffe, curated by Jens Hoffmann, Jewish Museum, New York (2015); and Chantal Joffe: Beside the Seaside, Jerwood Gallery, Hastings (2015). Selected group exhibitions include The Artist’s Mother, IMMA, Dublin (2021); Portraying Pregnancy: From Holbein to Social Media, The Foundling Museum, London (2020 and 2018); Summer Exhibition 2020, Royal Academy of Arts, London (2020); Cut and Paste: 400 Years of Collage, Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art, Edinburgh (2019); Whitechapel Gallery Editions, Whitechapel Gallery, London (2018); From Life, Royal Academy of Arts, London (2017); KVARTETT (QUARTET): Gauthier Hubert, Chantal Joffe, Jockum Nordström, Tumi Magnússon, National Gallery of Iceland, Reykjavík (2016); Friendship Portraits: Chantal Joffe and Ishbel Myerscough, National Portrait Gallery, London (2015); Ritratto di donne: Alessandra Ariatti & Chantal Joffe, Collezione Maramotti, Reggio Emilia (2014); Body Language, Saatchi Gallery, London (2013-2014); Nightfall: New Tendencies in Figurative Painting, MODEM, Debrecen (2012); Nothing in the World But Youth, Turner Contemporary, Margate (2011); and DRAW, MIMA Middlesbrough Institute of Modern Art (2007). Selected projects include A Sunday Afternoon in Whitechapel, a major new public work for the Elizabeth line station at Whitechapel (2021).

Awards include the Royal Academy Wollaston Prize (2006).

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