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
John McEwen, John Bellany, Edinburgh, 1994 (illustrated, p. 94)
Much of John Bellany’s work is autobiographical; his self-portraits trace the highs and lows of his life, and through them he faces and does battle with his inner demons. The son of a fisherman, he grew up in the fishing village of Port Seton in Scotland, a close-knit community dependent for its livelihood on the sea. Death was daily defied, and superstition and religion were ever-present. The harsh reality of the lives of the fishermen was one of the first obsessions of Bellany’s paintings and a recurring motif is the artist’s face, masked by a fish or marine bird.