20 July – 22 September 2013
An artist who paints the human figure with a brutal honesty, this exhibition of portraits by Ken Currie reveals why he is one of the outstanding figurative painters of his generation.
The painter Ken Currie was one of the New Glasgow Boys in the 1980s along with Peter Howson, Adrian Wisniewski and the late Steven Campbell. Their subject matter related to Industrial Glasgow, yet by the 1990s Currie had moved onto a far more caustic subject.
Having been deeply affected by the Balkan war, Currie began painting pictures symbolizing the grim-realities of war-torn Europe. Decaying and damaged bodies became a response to what he saw as the sickness of contemporary society. This exhibition at The Scottish National Portrait Gallery, mediates on Currie’s idea of the portrait and its continued significance in the modern world.
An artist who has never shirked from the harsh realities of modern life, in his long career Ken Currie has rarely confronted a subject with quite as much scorn as his own image.
In 2006 he painted the naked self-portrait ‘Unfamiliar Reflection’ which depicted him gazing at his own unflattering body, paunchy and balding, as if it were a an aberration. The dark background echoes the nightmarish quality of Goya’s black paintings.
Also on show is the luminous painting Three Oncologists, 2002, another hauntingly Goyaesque portrait.