Patrick George – Portraits


17 March – 20 April 2022

Browse & Darby are delighted to announce their upcoming exhibition of Portraits by Patrick George.

It is sometimes asserted that the concern with precise measurement that underlay many of Patrick George’s major works restricted his paintings’ capacity to communicate the reality of a given motif in all its fullness, whether visually or psychologically. The portraits in this exhibition show, however, that the opposite is the case. Patrick’s method was a means of releasing the subject and of giving the presence of each individual an unusual intensity. Patrick is justly celebrated for his pictures of landscape, painted outdoors from  observation.

For an artist intent on recording accurately what he saw, the vagaries of a motif in terms of weather, light and the growth of trees, leaves and crops posed multiple challenges. The registering of time also became a live issue. When his subject was a person, observed in interior space, challenges of different kinds were automatically introduced. At the same time the concentration of the situation brought into more explicit focus the demands of Patrick’s kind of painting, for the artist. For the viewer, however, a painting seems to represent not only the visual facts the painter discovered but also Patrick’s search itself, and these two phenomena are experienced as a single thing. Each portrait is the record of a process, but as much as a pinning down this is experienced as an opening up. It reveals to the viewer not only the unique appearance and presence of the sitter but also the unique sensibility of the artist. In Patrick’s case, the artist is revealed to be not so much a control freak (dedicated though he was to his task) as a wide-eyed explorer.

– Richard Morphet, 2022