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"Partou: Portraits of Absence - New Paintings with a Digital Installation of Image and Prose"
2002-02-22 until 2002-03-23
Art Space Gallery
London, , UK United Kingdom

Partou was born in Tehran in 1958 and came to England at the age of eleven. She graduated from Warwick University with a BA in Art History in 1980 and then trained as a painter at the Slade School of Art between 1986 and 1991. She moved to Newlyn in Cornwall in 1993 and during 1998-2001 completed a practice-based PhD at Falmouth College of Art and Plymouth University. This will be her second solo exhibition at Art Space Gallery.

For this exhibition Partou has been working on a series of 'self-portraits' and 'interiors' inspired by her own immediate environment. In the 'interiors' it is the mundane and ordinary things that are the subject: a chair, props in the studio, cans of paint, brushes, or aspects of the rooms and spaces that she lives and works in. Partou writes that, 'In these images of an intimate space and place of work, the intrinsic shape of things is delineated by light.' and indeed what distinguishes these paintings is a very particular quality of light that floods into the work and confers a mysteriousness on scenes and objects that would otherwise be ordinary and uneventful. Just as the interiors are a record of her environment, the self-portraits are a way of documenting herself observed through a mirror, but extended to the domestic and differentiated space of an individual history. 'Both the interiors and direct paintings of myself, act as a catalogue of absences. These are portraits of absence, and of emptiness, even when apparently representing a mirror/memory of a body, of a space or of things.'

Working from drawings, Patron's paintings are gradually brought together into compositions that are constantly revised and perfected until they achieve a unity and expressive vision of their own. These paintings enact the dramas and experience of life: the daily experience of self played out and scrutinised with a heightened and unblinking self-examination, which suggest the urgency of discovery. They are paintings that might belong to the traditional genres of the portrait and still life, but they do not conform to academic expectations of what such paintings should be.

As part of her PhD thesis, Partou created two boxed sets: A Head of Her Time (24 self-portraits) and Eve's Book of the Garden, (12 landscapes); each image with it's own corresponding prose. These precious boxes will be on display and the exhibition will include a digital installation of their contents and the prose as recited by Partou.

A Head of Her Time, No.7 of 24, 2001
Gouache on heavy hand made paper
18 x 14 (45 cm x 35 cm)

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