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Picturing People

The New State of the Art

Charlotte Mullins


The companion to the bestselling Painting People explores the most exciting artists working with the figure today


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.

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'Will leave you enthralled'
The Artist

Product Information

Book Details

Format: Hardback

Size: 27.5 x 23.0 cm

Extent: 192 pp

Publication date: 24 August 2015

ISBN: 9780500239384

Contents List

Introduction • 1. People as Picture: Depicting the human form in paint • 2. Image Hunters: the role of the ever-increasing archive of photography and media reproductions • 3. Picturing History: drawing on art history for inspiration/direction • 4. Parallel Worlds: exploring parallel worlds, where the figure is imaginatively transported to various possible futures • 5. Observer / Observed: the observed figure, both the artist’s own and that of others.

About the Author

Charlotte Mullins is an art critic, writer and broadcaster. She has worked as the arts editor of the Independent on Sunday, the editor of Art Review, the V&A Magazine and Art Quarterly, and has written over ten books, two of which are art books for children, which were published under the pen name Charlie Ayres.