Woking, The Lightbox, The Ingram Collection: The Human Face, 22 July – 28 September 2008;
Woking, The Lightbox, The Ingram Collection: Dreams and Nightmares, 22 May – 15 July 2012;
Aberystwyth, Aberystwyth Arts Centre, The Human Face, 27 January – 12 March 2016;
Woking, The Lightbox, Picturing People, 20 January – 1 April 2018;
Hull, Ferens Art Gallery, Reflection: British Art in an Age of Change, 17 August 2019 – 5 January 2020
John McEwen, John Bellany, Edinburgh, 1994 (illustrated, p. 94)
The son of a fisherman, John Bellany grew up in a fishing village not far from Edinburgh. Throughout his career he drew on a visual vocabulary of fish, sea birds and boats. His early life also introduced him to the age-old battle between the chapel and the pub, and there is a powerful suggestion of inner conflict in this compelling self-portrait. The head on the right wears a puffin mask, hinting at flamboyance and freedom. It seems to be pulling away from the other head, which is covered more fully by a bony mask. Does this represent the artist’s more serious self?