In this video from the National Galleries of Scotland, Scottish artist Ken Currie talks about his work and the process behind the painting of his first portrait commission, Three Oncologists.
It’s fascinating to hear him speak about his work, how he went about capturing the likeness of his subjects (surprising!), and his impressions as he observed the doctors at work. (reminiscent of views expressed at a recent artist/scientist panel discussion during the Perceptions of Promise exhibition.)
Ken Currie is one of Scotland’s most influential contemporary artists. His work is both haunting and harrowing:
I want the viewer to be simultaneously attracted and repulsed by my work in the same glance. My aim is to provoke anxiety and discomfort in the act of looking … to hold their gaze then mercilessly terrorise their compliancy and unsettle them.
(Quoted in July 1/2012 Australian Art Review)
The McMaster Museum of Art is fortunate to have 28 works by Ken Currie in its collection. These include a 9 x 11 foot oil on canvas painting, Wailing Women, 1990, which is a companion to The Troubled City painting shown in the video. (They are two parts of a trilogy.)
The collection also includes 26 aquatints from Currie’s The Age of Uncertainty portfolio (1991) and, finally, a work that is on view now until August 4 (Don’t miss it!) in The Last Things Before the Last exhibition—a Head Study in oil, charcoal and beeswax, gifted by Neil and Blanche Carragher in 2004.