press release

Stephen Friedman Gallery is pleased to present Portrait Perspectives, an exhibition featuring selected work by British artist Dryden Goodwin as well as portraits by John Currin, Dr Lakra, Mr, Jockum Nordström, Cindy Sherman and Andy Warhol.

Dryden Goodwin creates portraits that are poised between intimacy and estrangement, stillness and movement. He explores the boundaries of drawing, photography and film by transforming traditionally ‘still’ portraits into moving ones. Presenting the viewer with multiple views of the same person, Goodwin seems to uncover a hidden essence, or character in his works. The illusion of familiarity and understanding is partially distorted however, when the viewer realises that the portrayed individuals are often strangers to the artist.

In the front space of the gallery, Goodwin shows work that demonstrates three approaches to portraiture. Cradle is a series of life-sized photographs of strangers captured in isolated moments on the street. Goodwin has scratched the photographs, creating a web of lines embracing the anonymous faces with what seems a tender gesture. In his series of red watercolours, Goodwin portrays not strangers but friends and members of his family. By imposing one drawing over another, he creates not only a sense of intimacy but also the illusion of movement and passage of time. Suspended Animation is a series of 30 drawings, all taken from the same photograph, a portrait of the artist. The drawings are exhibited both individually and transformed into a video animation. The artist’s likeness is simultaneously in motion and still; it is changing and yet suspended. Thus, Dryden Goodwin develops the traditions of portraiture into a unique style of representation.

In the rear space of the gallery, a selection of works by six international artists shows a variety of approaches towards portraiture. John Currin’s Untitled depicts a female nude reminiscent of old master paintings by Lucas Cranach the Elder. Currin mixes the style of the German renaissance painter with contemporary pin-up imagery, illustrating with his portrait the change in reception of female beauty. Similarly, Dr Lakra questions concepts of beauty and fashion by coating the skin of cover girls on vintage magazines with tattoos. The tiny paintings of long legged Lolitas by Japanese artist Mr offer an alternative approach towards human representation, influenced by the aesthetics of Manga comics. Jockum Nordström’s I Lied to You is a flat depiction of a couple seated in the dull stage-like setting of a living room. The characters in this psychological portrait are together and yet separate, surrounded by cartoon images representing hidden thoughts or subconscious wishes. Cindy Sherman’s self portraits as Bus Rider, Jealous Husband or Daughter are similarly gloomy and unsettling. With the help of makeup, wigs and clothing, Sherman transforms herself into stereotyped personas, switching identities with every picture. The faux portraits analyse the disparities between character and outer appearance. The dream of transforming simultaneously one’s appearance and identity is also the topic of Andy Warhol’s portrait Over 40 (pos).

The National Portrait Gallery, London is presenting Dryden Goodwin’s Sustained Endeavour, a new commissioned portrait of Sir Steve Redgrave. It opens on 6 September 2006.


Dryden Goodwin
Portrait Perspectives

Dryden Goodwin & John Currin, Dr. Lakra, Mr, Jockum Nordström, Cindy Sherman, Andy Warhol