Tuesday, 16 June 2015

Head to Head

Untitled, a marble bust created in 2013 by Edinburgh-based artist Jonathan Owen, will be part of a fascinating array of portrait sculptures, drawn from the collections of the National Galleries of Scotland, which will form a new exhibition set to open in Edinburgh this week. Head to Head, which opens at the Scottish National Portrait Gallery on 6 June, will bring together around 50 busts and sculpted figures in a huge variety of styles and media, dating from antiquity to the present day.

Head to Head will explore the many ways in which sculptors have treated and re-imagined that most engaging, most primal subject, the human head. It will be spectacularly staged in the Portrait Gallery’s contemporary space on the ground floor, and is the first National Galleries exhibition to feature sculptures drawn equally from all three collections.

For Untitled Owen has carved directly into the head of a nineteenth-century portrait bust, turning it into a cage made of an intricate three-dimensional star pattern, with a marble sphere trapped inside. Owen’s transformation of the original bust into a new object illustrates one of the ways artists continue to reference the tradition of the sculpture portrait, while also seeking to break free from it.

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