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Intimate, powerful and sometimes deliberately uncomfortable, Claudette Johnson’s studies of black men and women demand attention and command respect.

This show is an overview of one of the most accomplished figurative artists working in Britain today, and the first major institutional solo exhibition since 1990 of London-based artist Claudette Johnson (b 1959).

Johnson asserts, 'I do believe that the fiction of ‘blackness’ that is the legacy of colonialism can be interrupted by an encounter with the stories that we have to tell about ourselves'. To this end, her art sets out to redress negative portrayals of black men and women and to counter the invisibility of black people in cultural spheres and beyond.

Her large-scale drawings exude confidence and freedom. They are free of many of the constraints associated with traditional notions of portraiture in that her subjects are rarely accompanied by objects tying them to a specific history or life. Johnson’s figures feel present and the people she depicts poignantly defy objectification.

This exhibition brings together works from the 80s through to recent and new works, providing a unique opportunity to experience her strong and commanding body of work.

PaintingContemporary artOxford

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