Self-Portrait with Esme, 2009
oil on linen, 84x60 in.
|Born||1969 (age 44–45)
St. Albans, Vermont, United States
|Education||Camberwell College of Arts
Glasgow School of Art
Royal College of Art
|Awards||Delfina Studio Trust Award (1994–96)
Abbey Scholarship (1998–99)
Charles Wollaston Award (2006)
Chantal Joffe (born 1969) is an English artist based in London. Her often large-scale paintings generally depict women and children. In 2006, she received the prestigious Charles Wollaston Award from the Royal Academy.
Life and education
Joffe completed her Foundation studies at Camberwell College of Arts (1987–88). She attended Glasgow School of Art in 1988–91, graduating with honours and receiving her BA in Fine Art. She received her MA in painting from the Royal College of Art, which she attended from 1992–94.
Joffe primarily paints expressive portraits of women and children, often in very large scale, sometimes 10 feet (3 m) tall. In a 2009 interview with Stella McCartney, Joffe said, "I really love painting women. Their bodies, their clothes – it all interests me." Source images for her personality-filled oil paintings include family photos, advertising, fashion magazines, and pornography. Working roughly from her photographic source material, Joffe introduces distortions to her depictions.
In the McCartney interview, Joffe mentioned the photography of Diane Arbus as an inspiration for her art: "I find photography massively influential. Specifically, Diane Arbus, who I've been obsessed with my whole life. Her work has everything about the portrait of a human that you can ever want."
A reviewer said of her "big rude paintings" that "she paints with a kind of easy control – effortless without being slick." He further points out that her paintings may give an initial impression of simplicity, charm, or childishness, but "they have an unsettling quality which gives the exhibition an odd, rather menacing mood."
Some of her paintings are so large that she required scaffolding to work on them. Painting in huge, unfussy brushstrokes, she is unconcerned with stray drips and blobs of paint, and sometimes leaves old outlines visible. A reviewer noted that "painting the heads up close also makes for large, wonky eyes and odd proportions, like Picasso re-invented in manga."
In 2006, an editor of British magazine Latest Art described Joffe's large paintings as "simply exquisite representations of femininity".
Exhibitions and collections
Chantal Joffe's work has shown internationally in many exhibitions. She has had solo exhibitions in London, Milan, Venice, Paris, New York, and Bologna. Her work has also been featured in many group exhibitions.
In 2002, she participated in an exhibition entitled The Bold and The Beautiful, at The Pavilions, Mile End Park in London. This show marked the first time Chantal, her mother Daryll Joffe, and her brother Jasper Joffe were featured in an exhibit together.
She won the £25,000 Charles Wollaston Award in the 2006 Royal Academy summer exhibition, for the "most distinguished work in the exhibition". The winning painting was Blond Girl – Black Dress. The judges praised the painting as "an incredibly strong and striking painting ... There was no debate about the winner, the decision was reached unanimously."
- National Portrait Award Exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery in London (1992 and 1993).
- New Contemporaries at the Tate Liverpool (1996)
- Big Girl, Little Girl at Collective Gallery in Edinburgh (1996)
- British Portrait 1 at Studio d'Arte Raffaelli in Italy (1999)
- The Way I See It at Galerie Jennifer Flay in Paris (2001)
- The Galleries Show 2002: Contemporary Art in London at the Royal Academy of Arts in London (2002)
- John Moores 22 at the Walker Art Gallery in Liverpool (2002)
- London Calling at Galleri KB in Oslo (2005)
- DRAW at Middlesbrough Institute of Modern Art (2007)
- British Subjects: Identity and Self-Fashioning 1967-2009 at Neuberger Museum of Art in New York (2009)
Joffe's work is in the collections of Saatchi Gallery (London, England), Berardo Collection Museum (Lisbon, Portugal), Museo Arte Contemporanea Isernia (Isernia, Italy), Museo d'Arte Classica (Zola Predosa, Italy), and The West Collection (Oaks, Pennsylvania). She is represented by the Victoria Miro Gallery in London.
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