Appearing at once both contemporary and historical, and intriguingly titled Man Whose Head Expanded, a seemingly young man with neat blue hair and wearing a classical tunic stares out from a plain lilac background; in another painting – Man Whose Head Diminished – a face disturbingly similar to the first but older and wearing a multi-coloured Elizabethan-style ruff seems to emerge out of the canvas. Together the images play on contrasting ideas of self-belief.
Richard Wathen's new show for Max Wigram Gallery comprises his disturbing, anatomically distorted and isolated self-portraits that reflect on time and age, art history and studio painting. His paintings draw inspiration from a variety of periods, mixed with disguised, self-fashioned autobiographic references. Wathen considers his paintings to be manifestations of something previously unconsidered brought into view.