Above: Lockdown Hair 1, Unkempt Self-Portrait, 2021, oil on panel, 31x50cm

"Plant’s self-portraits in lockdown perceptively capture the confusion, chaos, loss and humility we’ve experienced living with a pandemic.  There’s something relatable and beautifully tragic about the artist’s gaze, inviting you into his story and perhaps, a resignation that this is our new normality.  How do we connect, read faces, create intimacy in a time of visual obscurity?  In Plant’s case, his storytelling is all in those eyes."

Helen Davies - Culture Director Arts Organisation Bristol & Co-CEO of Inbetweentime.co.uk

The Lockdown Portraits

"I MUST CREATE A SYSTEM,

OR BE ENSLAVED BY ANOTHER MANS,

I WILL NOT REASON OR COMPARE,

MY BUSINESS IS TO CREATE."

William Blake.

 

How has Lockdown affected the way we perceive each other ? I began exploring this as ideas emerged, not just about how wearing a mask can change our identity, but finding new themes such as 'Lockdown Hair',  'Working From Home', 'Self Isolating' and the paradox of 'Social Distancing' while at the same time 'Social Networking', these all provide unusual starting points.

 

These themes, as the titles of the pictures indicate, place these portraits and self-portraits in the here-and-now, saying a lot about our current predicaments, but it is really the making of a picture of a face or head in a new way; the finding of a new way of seeing and putting it down, with both uncertainty and exactitude, that still poses a great challenge.

These portraits are painted or drawn directly from life because I can be more imaginative and take greater risks with the reality of things this way; I find I can forget myself and 'sing' more freely.