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View portraits differently in new Walker Art Gallery show

Portraits by artists including Frank Auerbach, Lord Leighton, Milena Dragicevic, Richard Hamilton and Ken Kiff go on show in a new exhibition at the Walker Art Gallery this week.

More than 30 works of art have been drawn together by artist Leo Fitzmaurice who has been invited to curate the show in the William Brown Street gallery’s Room Nine.

Fitzmaurice, who is based in Wirral and is a former recipient of the Northern Art Prize, is presenting the works – chosen from the Walker itself along with the Arts Council Collection - in a way that he hopes will lead visitors to view them in a different light.

The 55-year-old explains: “Almost always, in my work, I try to frame the everyday and the overlooked in a new light. So, rather than seeing myself as a maker, I consider myself a maker of things apparent - I would think an artwork successful if the work could give the feeling of encountering something familiar for the first time.

“With this piece I have thought about portraiture, and the portrayed, from first principles; for me, portraiture is the depiction of a face on a two-dimensional plane. This grouping of portraits is my way of saying something new about this age-old problem.”

Among the pieces included in Leo Fitzmaurice: Between You and Me and Everything Else are Portrait of a Young Man, perhaps George Stubbs (1744-8) – a painting considered to be an early portrait of the famous Liverpool-born artist George Stubbs, attributed to William Caddick; Milena Dragicevic’s Supplicant 101, colourful portrait of one of the artist’s friends, in which the sitter’s face is partially distorted by a beak, and Richard Hamilton’s pop art collage, Portrait of Hugh Gaitskell as a Famous Monster of Filmland.

Beth Lewis, Arts Council Collection Project Curator at the Walker, said: “Leo has a wonderful ability to see the potential in the so-called ‘everyday’. His practice encourages us to look twice and see things differently, often changing our perceptions through his very subtle interventions.”

Leo Fitzmaurice: Between You and Me and Everything Else is at the Walker Art Gallery from September 29 to March 17 2019.

Above: Elsie Farleigh by Bernard Meninsky (1934). Credit: Walker Art Gallery

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