"EVOLUTION is aptly titled because it brings together some of Emma Tooth’s best known paintings of recent years, including a number from her acclaimed Concilium Plebis collection, and places them alongside some very rarely seen pieces, old and new, offering an overview of the development of her work from her earliest experiments with oils in the mid-Nineties right up to now.
This is an unusual and arguably brave decision by a professional artist to open up her archives and place less mature pieces alongside more recent, perhaps technically more advanced works, but as a result the exhibition showcases not only the paintings in themselves, but presents a sense of a progression or journey.
Today Emma Tooth is best known for Concilium Plebis; (Latin for The Council of The Ordinary) a collection of extraordinary portraits of ordinary people. Kickstarted in 2008 with Arts Council funding, her depictions of "chavs" and "hoodies" in the style of Caravaggio and the Old Masters gained her international attention.
Some of the strongest work in EVOLUTION is drawn from her subsequent collection entitled 'Heredity', where she deploys her by-now considerable technical skills in intimate and sometimes breathtakingly lifelike portraits of members of her own family. After all the paintings of hooded youths and tattooed young men in crucifixion-inspired poses, she seems to discover her metier in the wrinkles of old men's faces. Particularly striking is a lifesize portrait in oils of her paternal grandmother, the Queen Bee, whose presence dominates EVOLUTION..."
- My Planet Liverpool magazine
oil on canvas
102cm x 77cm
collection of the artist
A portrait of the artist's Maternal Grandmother wearing an antique shawl.