Chantal Joffe’s Many Faces

Olivia Laing at The Paris Review:

Here’s the setup: palette, chair, mirror. The mirror is bandaged together with red-and-white tape that says FRAGILE, but let’s not make too much of that. The original plan was written on a scrap of paper: “small heads—meditations—buy lots of small boards.” The first was painted on January 1, 2018, “the worst day of the year,” not that the rest of the year was that much brighter. Joffe’s marriage was breaking up. She painted herself nearly every day, sometimes at night, always in fairly pitiless light.

Speaking broadly for a minute, she looks in this extraordinary series of self-portraits like someone almost warping under a heavy weight. Bowed down, weighted by feeling, she peers back at herself, artist prowling after sitter, avid to catch pouches, moles, sags, bags, and quirks of flesh.

more here.

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