The Heseltine Gallery
Monday, September 17, 2018
Saturday, September 29, 2018
Chenderit School, Archery Rd, Middleton Cheney OX17 2QR.
South East England
The Friends of Heseltine Gallery

“It was years since we had made those drawings, but the character of each was still recognisable in the artists we had become.” (Cally Trench)

‘Siblings Cannot Agree’ shows self-portraits by the two artists and portraits of the other, both from the past and from more recent years, with paintings, drawings, photographs and animation films.

“At first glance, there’s dissonance rather than cohesion: their work differs dramatically in technique and approach. Yet both inventively use paint, line or video to explore and record who they are and who they have become.” (Exhibition curator Tom Christy)

The title of the exhibition and the work itself reflect a seldom-acknowledged phenomenon: that brothers and sisters can have a shared background, family and upbringing and yet end up with very different outlooks, visions and ways of doing things – as demonstrated by the two artists’ contrasting approaches, ideas and techniques.

Nick Trench’s focus is on mood and situation, rather than on identity and character, with recent drawings experimenting with distortion and double-vision of facial features. He explores figures in different environments or treats them in different ways. Sometimes the figure may disappear entirely – perhaps merging into the surroundings or disappearing behind them.

“One problem I have with conventional portraiture is in the attempt to ‘fix’ a personality as though this can be done objectively. For me, the most interesting portraits are those which convey a sense of uncertainty or even ‘dissolution’ as though a ‘true’ portrait can never be achieved, where the figure looks as though it might fall apart or disintegrate or become so attenuated that it might disappear. I don’t think about these problems in terms of identity because ‘identity’ always (artificially) wants to remove the essential person (behind the figure) from his or her environment. It could be argued that good portraiture is always in a fight with identity.” (Nick Trench)

For Cally Trench, one aim of a portrait is to present to the viewer what they would not usually see if they met the person: a total openness and lack of pretence. In her Triptych drawings of herself, she gazes out at the viewer as if she has nothing to hide, with the intent and honest look we give ourselves in the mirror.

She uses a multiplicity of images – as diptychs, triptychs, collections of work (such as the Feet and Hands drawings), and time-lapse films – to approximate to the way that we see a person in continuous movement. This constant change is an indication of life.

‘Siblings Cannot Agree’ will be open 17th – 29th September 2018 (11am-3pm). Opening Event: Sunday 16th September (3-6pm), with an opportunity to meet the artists. Closing Event: Saturday 29th September (11am-3pm), with a guided tour by the artists of their work, plus readings by both artists from their own writings.

The Heseltine Gallery, Chenderit School, Archery Rd, Middleton Cheney OX17 2QR. Free parking. The gallery is run by The Friends of the Heseltine Gallery.