Somaya Critchlow

Little Tina

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Year 2020
Medium Watercolour and coloured pencil on paper
Dimensions 17.8 x 12.2 cm
Nominated by Amelia Barratt
Top pick Tunji Adeniyi-Jones, artist; Edward Lee, collector; Angela Choon, Senior Partner, David Zwirner; Giles Deacon, fashion designer

About the work

Much like Jean-Honoré Fragonard’s studies on paper, this piece is grounded in a brown watercolour wash, with pencil marks deftly used to sketch out the subject: a woman, who, although unclothed and perhaps a little self-conscious, projects the relaxed and poised demeanour which has become a signature of Somaya Critchlow’s work.

About the artist:

Born 1993 London, Somaya Critchlow lives and works in London. Graduated from Foundation Diploma from City and Guilds Traditional Art School (2012); BA Fine Art Painting from University of Brighton (2016); and The Drawing Year (Postgraduate Diploma) at The Royal Drawing School, London (2017).

Critchlow’s canvases and sketchbooks log an ongoing process of world building. The artist fashions these realms by drawing upon her expansive knowledge of picture-making traditions ranging from the Renaissance to the Rococo. In charting the ever-expanding dimensions of this female dominated universe, Critchlow casually disarms the distinctions that inform concepts of high and low culture by uncovering the ways in which class and racial difference are routinely conflated. The voluptuous, self-possessed women who explore Critchlow’s fantasy landscapes and pensively occupy domestic interiors or otherwise blank pages owe as much to the aesthetics of Love and Hip Hop as they do to Peter Paul Rubens, and thus prompt the viewer to consider the disparate ways in which we esteem these forms of culture—and the women they feature.

Critchlow’s works are held in public and private collections including Baltimore Museum of Art, Maryland; RISD Museum, Providence; Hammer Museum, Los Angeles; ICA Miami; and Sainsbury Centre for Visual Art, Norwich.

Selected solo exhibitions include Underneath a Bebop Moon, Maximillian William, London (2020); Sincere for Synonym, Fortnight Institute, New York (2019); and Time Never Mattered, Efrain Lopez Projects, Chicago (2018). Selected group exhibitions include Ellen Berkenblit / Somaya Critchlow, Grice Bench, Los Angeles (2021); Good Pictures, Jeffrey Deitch, New York (2020); (Nothing but) Flowers, Karma, New York (2020); Xenia: Crossroads in Portrait Painting, Marianne Boesky, New York (2020); Role Play, Maximillian William, London (2019-2020); They Gaze, James Fuentes Gallery, New York (2019); Reimagine, Orleans House Gallery, Twickenham (2019); Downsizing, An Exhibition of Miniature Artworks, Cave, London (2018); FA Art, Sassoon Gallery, part of Folkstone Triennial (2017); and Special Blend, Art of Matter, Art Lacuna, London (2016). 

← Michael Craig-Martin

Hands, face, space

Layla Curtis →

United Kingdom + European Union

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