portraits

Angelica Kauffman Sculpture (collaboration with Bob and Roberta Smith)

Angelica Kauffman Sculpture (collaboration with Bob and Roberta Smith) was made as part of THE SECRET TO A GOOD LIFE exhibition, The Ronald and Rita McAulay Gallery, Burlington Gardens, Royal Academy of Arts (held 4 Sept 2018 – 3 Feb 2019)

This special project by Bob and Roberta Smith RA explores the story of women artists and the Royal Academy – through the lens of his own family history. Bob and Roberta Smith’s mother, the artist Deirdre Borlase, regularly exhibited in the RA’s Summer Exhibition. She thought she was more likely to be selected if she submitted works without her first name, to avoid giving away her gender. Members of Borlase’s family explore her story, and some of the other – sometimes strained – relationships between women and the Royal Academy over its history.

Three new sculptures include This is Deirdre Borlase ARCA, 2018, by Bob and Roberta Smith RA and sculptures of the Academy’s female founders, Mary Moser RA and Angelica Kauffman RA, created by Smith in collaboration with his wife, Jessica Voorsanger, and their daughter, Etta Voorsanger-Brill.

The sculpture of Angelica Kauffman, a collaboration with Jessica Voorsanger is covered in 15 portraits of women artists she is inspired by starting with Angelica Kauffman (as the head) to Mona Hatoum and Alice Neel amongst others.

Portraits     

The portraits of women artists on the collaborative sculpture are: Laurie Anderson, Sofonisba Anguissola, Sonia Boyce, Claude Cahun, Mona Hatoum, Frida Kahlo, Angelica Kauffman, Lee Krasner, Yayoi Kusama, Edmonia Lewis, Ana Mandieta, Alice Neel, Georgia O’Keefe, Lorna Simpson and Kara Walker.

               

Publication
The accompanying book Bob and Roberta Smith: The Secret to a Good Life explores the role of women artists, the sexism of the art world and the benefits of drawing every day. Find out more.

 

SECRET TO A GOOD LIFE, The Ronald and Rita McAulay Gallery, Burlington Gardens, Royal Academy of Arts, London

SECRET TO A GOOD LIFE at The ROYAL ACADEMY 

4 September 2018 – 3 February 2019, free admission

This special project by Bob and Roberta Smith RA explores the story of women artists and the Royal Academy – through the lens of his own family history.

Bob and Roberta Smith RA’s mother, the artist Deirdre Borlase, regularly exhibited in the RA’s Summer Exhibition. She thought she was more likely to be selected if she submitted works without her first name, to avoid giving away her gender.

In this special project to mark the RA’s 250th anniversary, members of Borlase’s family explore her story, and some of the other – sometimes strained – relationships between women and the Royal Academy over its history. The display will include a selection of historic paintings by Deidre Borlase from the 1940-80s, as well as a portrait of her by her husband, Frederick Brill.

Three new sculptures include This is Deirdre Borlase ARCA, 2018, by Bob and Roberta Smith RA and sculptures of the Academy’s female founders, Mary Moser RA and Angelica Kauffman RA, created by Smith in collaboration with his wife, Jessica Voorsanger, and their daughter, Etta Voorsanger-Brill.

The sculpture of Angelica Kauffman, a collaboration with Jessica Voorsanger is covered in 15 portraits of women artists she is inspired by starting with Angelica Kauffman (as the head) to Mona Hatoum and Alice Neel amongst others.

The sculpture of Mary Moser is a collaboration with Etta Voorsanger-Brill and Bob and Roberta Smith. It is covered in Risograph printed fanzines which explores women in a patriarchal society and include Mary Moser’s work.

Publication
The accompanying book Bob and Roberta Smith: The Secret to a Good Life explores the role of women artists, the sexism of the art world and the benefits of drawing every day. Find out more.

 

Impostors ~ The Curly Haired Men Series

Impostors ~ The Curly Haired Men Series

The Impostors Series has taken several different forms; installation, video, performance and photography. It’s main characteristic is in the ‘impostorship’ of someone well known. In the installation works, the viewer is invited to dress-up as the celebrity/television character or artist and perform as them. But in all cases, there are elements that highlight the fact the the participant is an ‘impostor’, either through gender, race or poor quality wigs.

In this series of photographs, Jessica Voorsanger, having been diagnosed with cancer, used her illness as a strength.  In the midst of her chemotherapy treatment she continued to explore identity and gender politics in The Impostor Series by creating a series of photographs of herself as famous bald men.  When her hair started to grow back – it came back curly (which was new for her).  Her response to this new step in the process of recovering from her illness, and wanting to reclaim herself – created a series of photographs of herself as Curly Haired Men.  The men included in the grouping are: Ronald McDonald, Adam Ant, Starsky (from Starsky & Hutch), Michael Landon (from The Little House on the Prairie), Art Garfunkel, Bob Dylan and Tom Selleck.

           

Impostors ~ The Bald Man Series

Impostors ~ The Bald Man Series

The Impostors Series has taken several different forms; installation, video, performance and photography. It’s main characteristic is in the ‘impostorship’ of someone well known. In the installation works, the viewer is invited to dress-up as the celebrity/television character or artist and perform as them. But in all cases, there are elements that highlight the fact the the participant is an ‘impostor’, either through gender, race or poor quality wigs.

In this series of photographs, Jessica Voorsanger, having been diagnosed with cancer, used her illness as a strength.  In the midst of her chemotherapy treatment she continued to explore identity and gender politics in The Impostor Series by creating a series of photographs of herself as famous bald men.  There are six portrait to link with the six cycles of chemotherapy that Voorsanger had to endure. The men included in the grouping are: Pablo Picasso, Alfred Hitchcock, Claude Monet, Kojak, Yul Brynner and Henry Moore.

 

 

 

Portraits ~ Henry Moore

This performance took place at The Art Car Boot Fair. Following on from the previous year’s performance of Portraits by Amy Winehouse , playing on the theme of tourists having their portraits drawn. In this case, the portraits of the visitors were drawn in charcoal but in the style of Henry Moore. The added element to the performance was that Jessica Voorsanger was dressed as Henry Moore while she created the portraits.

 

Portraits ~ Amy Winehouse

This performance took place at The Art Car Boot Fair. Playing on the theme of tourists having their portraits drawn. In this case, the portraits of the visitors were painted in oils, highly out of place in a street fair as they take up to a week to dry to the touch. They were also timed to take one hour. The added element to the performance was that Jessica Voorsanger was dressed as Amy Winehouse while she created the portraits.

 

Impostors ~ Woody Allen Show

The Woody Allen Show was an exhibition in Berlin, as part of the Impostors Series . Jessica Voorsanger created portraits of Woody Allen (oil paintings) spanning his life and career. There was a video playing of Jessica performing Woody Allen’s stand-up routines, dressed as Woody Allen from either 1964, 1979 or 2006. The three costumes, the accessories and the monologues were available for visitors to try on and/or perform themselves.

Impostors ~ Stage Struck

Stage Struck was an installation at the New Art Gallery Walsall in 2008, which later became the first in the Impostors Series . The intention of the installation was to mimic a karaoke lounge. It featured 14 celebrities, their portraits (oil on canvas), costumes/wigs of them for the visitors to wear to perform the karaoke and a film of participants performing. The piece questioned the nature of celebrity and reality TV’s role in the disintegration of genuine celebrities. These ‘new’ celebrities are interchangeable. By selecting people that were/are talented, to feature in the exhibition, and allowing the visitors to mix and match by dressing as one singer and performing as another, it then becomes a metaphor for things going slightly ‘wrong’.

Impostors ~ Eastenders TV Studio (Whitechapel Art Gallery)

Eastenders is a project from the Impostors Series . The project consisted of an installation at the Whitechapel Art Gallery, The first Children’s Gallery Commission. The project was highlighting notable people from the East End of London in the form of a fake television studio. There were portraits (oil on canvas) of the ten featured Eastenders; Alfred Hitchcock (Leytonstone), Angela Lansbury (Poplar), David Beckham (Leytonstone), Sir Alan Sugar (Hackney), Meera Syal (Leytonstone/Ilford), Barbara Windsor (Shoreditch), Dudley Moore (Dagenham), Sandy Shaw (Dagenham), Honor Blackman (Plaistow) & The Kray Twins (Bethnal Green). The fake studio had a make-up area, costume, Green Room and stage. It was set up for the visitors to dress up as the Eastenders and perform on the stage in a continuously running karaoke. There was a song attributed to each of the Eastenders, ie. The Talking Heads ‘Psycho Killer’ was attributed to Alfred Hitchcock. Once on stage, the performer(s) were visible in the many monitors located around the installation.