Alison Watt is one of Britain’s leading contemporary artists, best known for her exquisite portraits and still-life paintings.

Watt’s most recent work explores the technique of trompe-l’oeil – used to create pictures in which objects appear so realistic that they deceive the eye. The starting point for this particular exploration is Thomas Warrender’s Still-life (c1708), a painting on display at the Scottish National Gallery. The picture shows a letter rack, and includes items such as feathers, sealing wax and folded paper.

In Warrender we see a sheet of crisp white paper, creased as if it has been folded twice and then unfolded again. Although the image appears at first to be monochrome, closer inspection reveals subtle modulations of colour and light. The paper depicted is blank, lending the painting an air of mystery.

Warrender now joins the Arts Council Collection, a national loan collection which was established in 1946 and which now contains almost 8,000 works of art.


Alison Watt: A Shadow on the Blind, Parafin, 24 May - 13 July 2019 Alison Watt: A Shadow on the Blind, Abbot Hall Art Gallery, 12 October 2018 - 2 February 2019Parafin at Art Brussels, Tour & Taxis, Brussels, 20 - 23 April 2017

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