Chantal Joffe has been published to accompany an exhibition of new work by the artist at Victoria Miro, London, (22 January – 24 March 2016).
Comprising painting and pastel works, the publication foregrounds Joffe’s relationship to the midcentury confessional poets Anne Sexton, Sylvia Plath and Ted Hughes.
Joffe paints from photographs reproduced in these writer’s biographies, handling her material with the ardour of the avid reader, and fan; far from forensic examinations, her act of painting the faces and bodies of people who worked from the inside out is suffused with an almost palpable empathetic warmth, which moves perpetually towards what seems at once painfully present and endlessly unknowable.
Together with intimate portraits of the artist’s friends and family members, these works prompts a re-evaluation of notions of self-disclosure and intimacy in the making of art. The publication features a newly commissioned text by the art historian Gemma Blackshaw.