Rory Mullen, Portrait of Chancellor Jackie Kay, 2015. C-type print. Image courtesy of the artist.

In Focus: Portraiture

Artists include: Albert Adams, Claudia Alonso, Ruth Barker, Mike Disfarmer, Harry Goodwin, Joe Gregory, Gary Hume, Owen Leong, Rory Mullen, Wang Ningde, Alfonzo Padilla, Stanley Reed, Harold Riley, Jamie Wilson, Juliet Wood.

The In Focus series explores specific genres of work from the University of Salford Art Collection. In the second installment of the series In Focus: Portraiture explores modern and contemporary portraiture and self-portraiture from the University of Salford Art Collection.

Our Chancellor portraits tell the story of some of the individuals who have shaped the University. Like many institutions, we have a history of commissioning chancellor portraits. In 2015 we actively moved away from traditional painting and now invite students to propose more contemporary approaches to portraiture. Selected students receive a paid commission to make new work. Portrait of Chancellor Jackie Kay (2015) by Rory Mullen, for example, playfully deconstructs the usual formalities of the portrait process, with a hand-made backdrop and robes.

From the Collection, a range of modern and contemporary portraits explore the social, personal, and economic factors that can shape our sense of identity. In Hole (2006), Owen Leong borrows aristocratic costumes to question perceptions of class and power; whilst in Speech (2018) Ruth Barker physically erodes the printed image to represent a disrupted sense of self through the experience of motherhood.

Alongside the Collection, a selection of group photographs from the University Archives offers a window into changing student life throughout the years – from baking classes and sports clubs to a portraiture drawing class in 1928, attended by L. S. Lowry when he studied here.

Exhibition Dates: Extended due to Covid closures:
Monday 3 February 2020 – end December 2021 (closed bank holidays).
Opening hours: Monday – Friday 10am – 4pm
New Adelphi Exhibition Gallery, University of Salford, University Road West, M5 4BR