Friendship Portraits at National Portrait Gallery

Friendship Portraits: Chantal Joffe and Ishbel Myerscough
National Portrait Gallery
Open Now
Until 28th September 2015

264_FriendshipPortraitsLes Amies by Ishbel Myerscough, 2013
© Ishbel Myerscough

This display at the National Portrait Gallery looks at the long-standing friendship and the artistic collaboration between two artists, Chantal Joffe and Ishbel Myerscough. The two became friends when they studied together at the Glasgow School of Art and their relationship has lasted through their adult years. With new portraits and many seen for the first time, Friendship Portraits: Chantal Joffe and Ishbel Myerscough is the first joint display of works by the two artists and follows their shared history from their student days to the present.

by Ishbel Myerscough, oil on canvas, 1991

Ishbel Myerscough; Chantal Joffe (‘Two Girls’)
by Ishbel Myerscough, 1991© National Portrait Gallery, London

On show in Friendship Portraits is a newly acquired painting for the Gallery’s permanent collection Two Girls by Ishbel Myerscough, the double portrait of herself and Joffe which Ishbel Myerscough painted for her graduation show at Glasgow School of Art in 1991.

This exhibition is fascinating exploration of a long-lasting and ongoing friendship. With both Joffe and Myerscough balancing relationships and motherhood with the life of a working artist, the two women have found tremendous understanding and support from one another. Their friendship, which is mostly conducted on the telephone, has been a constant in both their personal and professional lives. This display shows self-portraits, portraits of each other, double portraits of the two together and portraits of their children which demonstrate, in Chantal Joffe’s words, the ‘ongoing echoes following the now through the past’.

The two artists work in wildly different styles, as Sarah Howgate, Curator of Friendship Portraits: Chantal Joffe and Ishbel Myerscough, says: ‘While both artists admire the other’s way of working, their artistic practice and aesthetic remain different. Chantal paints expansive and gestural marks at speed which, although they may appear casual, are carefully considered. Ishbel paints painstakingly slowly on a relatively small, sometimes miniature scale, and with a clear, unflinching vision’.

Friendship Portraits: Chantal Joffe and Ishbel Myerscough is on display until 28th September in Rooms 41 & 41a.

Admission: FREE

Opening hours:
Daily 10am – 6pm
Late Opening: Thursday & Friday until 9pm

National Portrait Gallery
St Martin’s Place
London WC2H 0HE

Thursday 24th September 7pm
Friendship Portraits: Chantal Joffe and Ishbel Myerscough
The artists discuss their very particular artistic collaboration with Contemporary Curator Sarah Howgate.

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