Chantal Joffe

Possessing a humorous eye for everyday awkwardness and an enlivening facility with paint, Chantal Joffe brings a combination of insight and integrity 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 simultaneously. Almost always depicting women or girls, sometimes in groups but recently in iconic portraits, the paintings only waveringly adhere to their photographic source, instead reminding us that distortions of the brush or pencil can often make a subject seem more real. Joffe's paintings always alert us to how appearances are carefully constructed and codified, whether in a fashion magazine or the family album, and to the choreography of display. And yet there's witty neutrality in a career-spanning line-up that has given equal billing to catwalk models, porn actresses, mothers and children. Joffe questions assumptions about what makes a noble subject for art and challenges what our expectations of a feminist art might be. She ennobles the people she paints by rehabilitating the photographic image but, crucially, recognises that it is paint itself rather than attendant sociopolitical ideas that gives her paintings complexity and keeps us looking.

Born in 1969, Chantal Joffe lives and works in London. She holds an MA from the Royal College of Art. She was awarded the Royal Academy Woollaston Prize in 2006. Joffe has exhibited nationally and internationally at the Neuberger Museum of Art, Purchase, New York (2009); University of the Arts, London (2007), MIMA Middlesbrough Institute of Modern Art (2007), Royal Academy of Arts, London (2005), Galleri KB, Oslo (2005) and Bloomberg Space, London (2004).
Megan, 2010
oil on canvas, 213 x 152 cms 83 7/8 x 59 7/8 inches