7 Nov 2016 – 20 Nov 2016

Regular hours

10:00 – 18:00
10:00 – 18:00
10:00 – 18:00
10:00 – 18:00
10:00 – 18:00
10:00 – 18:00

Cost of entry

Free Entry


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Cass Art and NOA are pleased to announce ?Looking. Looking Back", the first solo exhibition of Charlie Schaffer, given as part of an award by Cass Art in last year's National Open Art Competition.


The works on show serve as records of the relationship between painter and sitter. The process of sitting for a painting is slow, intense and personal. In an era in which we are constantly connected to people yet have increasingly meaningless and impersonal relationships, the experience of sitting for a painting has transcended the traditional aim of capturing a likeness. It has become a vehicle through which a direct one-on-one relationship can exist.

The resulting paintings end up being more of a by-product, or transcript, of the experience. By avoiding any predetermined concept for the paintings, each work evolves as the relationship does: individually and over a prolonged period of time.

The show consists of a selection of works spanning the last three years. Each work is figurative, and the majority of the works contain just one character. However, each figure displays an intensity that stems not only from their own personality, but also from that of the artist, and the sum of their relationship. Other works are more oblique in their reference to human connection. There is the ghostly apparition of Oliver in "Portrait of Lucy", or the ephemeral creature lurking in the mirror in the background of "Suzi". The common link between all of the paintings is the emphasis on human relationships. We as humans are more than just solitary animals; we are formed through our experiences and bonds. This idea is exemplified not just through the paintings of others, but also through the series of self-portraits on display. While the subject remains the same, the images that emerge differ drastically. In "Electric Blue", the artist appears more mournful, melting into his background: an indistinct figure. In contrast, in "The Artist" every vein and muscle has been carefully observed. The figure is looming, godlike, a burst of colour and confidence. These paintings are a timeline displaying the exploratory nature of the painting process and the constantly changing self.

In this image-obsessed age, our lives are dominated by creating a personal 'brand' in order to define who we are. This exhibition aims to contest our preoccupation with self-curation, and to propose an alternative: we are formed, not through the images we present to the world, but through our relationships with one another.

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