Exhibition: Erica Cumming - 80 Paintings for a Portrait of Diane

Friday 5 - Wednesday 10 April

This exhibition is a rare opportunity to see a completely different approach to painting a portrait.The paintings, largely done from memory, were executed over a period of years. Their origins lie in a particular time and fixed viewpoint and this is the foundation to all the works.

Diane never sat for these portraits but the series ranges in approach from analytical observation, recalled from 4 or 5 meetings during the year, to intuitive, spontaneous response, fuelled by the nature of their friendship over the years. Though no single painting is necessarily complete in itself, together they support and reflect each other and show something of what lies below the surface and the extraordinary journey towards uncovering, drawing out and pinning down, in paint, the life force of another person.

“It is always a great mystery to me that what is revealed in my work is rarely what I set out to do; and how the paintings seem, most of the time, to have a life of their own. This reflect, perhaps, my search to find the pivotal point between openness, surrender, assertion and self-expression”.

Erica studied at the Slade, won a British Council scholarship to Italy and set up her own Life Painting class in London, where she taught for many years. She now paints and lives in Suffolk.