Chantal Joffe & Ishbel Myerscough in-conversation with William Feaver

Chantal Joffe and Ishbel Myerscough met at Glasgow School of Art in 1987 where they both studied Fine Art. As their friendship developed, they began to paint each other; a practice that has continued ever since. In 2015 they exhibited in a joint show at the National Portrait Gallery entitled, Friendship Portraits. Though markedly different in style, they share an ability to render a sense of truth in their sitters. Chantal brings a combination of insight and integrity, as well as psychological and emotional force, to the genre of figurative art. Hers is a deceptively casual brushstroke. Whether in images a few inches square or ten feet high, fluidity combined with a pragmatic approach to representation seduces and disarms. Ishbel’s paintings have been described by Curator Sarah Howgate as demonstrating a ‘clear, forensic vision’. Unwary of revealing the more awkward aspects of the physical body, her meticulous observation of details, such as pimples, wrinkles, tattoos, moles, freckles, bulges, veins and in particular hair, reveal, as she puts it, 'the wider things reflected in even the smallest life you lead'. 

Chantal Joffe lives and works in London. She holds an MA from the Royal College of Art and was awarded the Royal Academy Woollaston Prize in 2006. Forthcoming solo exhibitions include The Lowry, Manchester (2017). Joffe is represented by Victoria Miro, London. Ishbel Myerscough studied at Glasgow and the Slade Schools of Art; she won the National Portrait Gallery’s annual BP Portrait Award in 1995 and is now represented by Flowers Gallery.

Image credit:
Naked Self-Portrait with Esme with her Arm Raised
Chantal Joffe2014, Oil on board, 244 x 183 x 6 cm
© Chantal Joffe / Courtesy the artist and Victoria Miro, London and Cheim and Read, New York (photography Angus Mill)