TONY BEVAN: Self-Portraits

National Portrait Gallery (room 32), London

until 11 December 2011

Tony Bevan (b.1951) is one of Britain's most distinctive figurative painters. Since the early 1980s he has been making images in acrylic and charcoal that extend the tradition of expressive figure-based painting associated with such older painters as Francis Bacon and Frank Auerbach. Bevan's singular approach focuses in particular on the human head which is frequently enlarged, often isolated, and usually abstracted by being reduced to a structure of vector-like lines and marks. Such taut, linear structures are descriptive but also evoke the artist's exploration of character, mood and psychic states. Bevan's approach to portraiture is thus inherently and assertively subjective, transforming literal appearance through the implication of complex and ambiguous emotion.

This display comprises a focused group of self-portraits made since the 1980s and succinctly traces the development of the artist's interrogation of his own image as subject.

March 20, 2011