Figurative art is currently riding high. Contemporary works of figuration grace the walls of public institutions and commercial galleries alike. From the champions of paint such as Katherine Bernhardt and Adrian Ghenie to photographic artists such as Gillian Wearing and Cindy Sherman; from the drawings of Charles Avery to Grayson Perry’s tapestries and Kara Walker’s silhouettes; artists from diverse backgrounds working in a range of media are exploring new ways to depict the human form.
This accessible, perceptive introduction features recent work by seventy new artists, all of whom successfully employ the figure to help make sense of the world we live in. Picturing People explores the reasons behind this resurgence and considers what the figure means to the artists who use it. Some ask questions about how marks coalesce into figures. Some draw on photographic imagery, some on art’s own history to make sense of the digital present. Some seem to be influenced by scientific developments or philosophy as they invent parallel worlds; while others deliberately lose the individual in critiques of capitalist or communist socio-economic models.