The exhibition ‘Young Masters Dialogues’ features a selection of contemporary works, made or placed in response to the Sphinx Fine Art Old Master Collection.
Rebecca Fontaine-Wolf’s work ‘Patina’ was made in response to Joshua Reynolds’ unfinished portrait ‘Portrait of a Lady, Bust-Length with Pearl Earrings’. She explains her choice of Reynolds’ unfinished work as a starting point for her own painting:
As a whole my practice explores themes of femininity, idolisation, desire and mortality through the framework of figurative painting, investigating the mythologizing qualities inherent in portraiture. In my most recent series I selected my models according to a set of principles I’d established for the series, and then interviewed them on their views on images of women, beauty and self-image before beginning my paintings of them. The piece I will be showing at Sphinx Fine Art is part of this series, although it is also inspired by Joshua Reynolds’ ‘Portrait of a Lady’ which it will be in dialogue with in the gallery. Joshua Reynolds’ work inspires me on many levels; apart from being one of the greatest portrait painters in history, his interest in mythologizing his subjects and experimenting with new painterly techniques strikes a particular chord with me. ‘Portrait of a Lady’ also has the added quality of being unfinished, which I always find extremely appealing. Being able to see the painting being born out of the raw materials of canvas and paint is something which deeply excites me, and I have endeavoured to incorporate a sense of this alchemy into my technique over the course of my practice. In this case I began with a portrait, which I then roughly covered with ink and acrylic before beginning to draw the remains of the portrait back out to the surface with the use of oils and pastel.
Fontaine-Wolf’s work is exhibited with the original Reynolds painting at Sphinx Fine Art in the exhibition ‘Young Masters: Dialogues’ until 24 October 2015, curated by Daisy McMullan.