About the Artist
Chantal 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.
An essay by Gemma Blackshaw, Professor of Art History at the University of Plymouth, published to coincide with the opening of Chantal Joffe: Personal Feeling Is The Main Thing at The Lowry, Salford, and the forthcoming book, published by Elephant and Victoria Miro, in which excerpts of this essay appear.
Sunday 11 March
I woke for the first time this morning at a little after three. My daughter, who has started to sleep alone, had called out for me, and then for water. I held the cup in one hand, the back of her head in the other, leaning over her kneeling body, murmuring something. She drank deeply and then fell forwards on to the pillow, eyes closed. As she turned on to her side and felt my hand on her cheek, her ear, her hair, she said what she has said on every waking since leaving my bed six months ago: “Mummy, you stay there.”
My experience in pregnancy of the loss of self… has made it easier to undress and sit for Joffe