Annie Kevans

Born 1972 Cannes, France

Biography

Annie Kevans is primarily a painter of overlooked, exploited, or objectified figures in history and contemporary culture. She studied at Central Saint Martins (1997–2004) in London, the city in which she continues to live and work. Kevans’ paintings reflect her interests in power, manipulation, and the role of the individual in inherited belief systems. Kevans describes the portraits she makes as ‘anti-portraits’ because they are not created for descriptive likeness, but rather due to the concepts they represent. These works often present controversial subjects with humanity and sensuality; such as her series ‘Boys’, which presents dictators in a state of wide-eyed childhood innocence. This engages with her belief that a person’s identity is a shifting temporary construction. Successes include being a finalist in both the Women of the Future awards and the Jerwood Drawing Prize.

Artwork Information

Susan Penelope Rose (2014) is part of the series ‘Women and the History of Art’, which comprises over thirty reimagined portraits of once-acclaimed female artists in order to highlight gender inequality in the art world. The series asks why these artists – some of them internationally renowned in their time – have since been forgotten by modern audiences.

By giving these female artists a face and reiterating their names in a gallery setting, Kevans contributes to the feminist art historical fight against erasure. The portrait in particular draws attention to the British miniature portrait painter, Susan Penelope Rosse (Rose) (c.1652–1700). Painter of Charles II’s mistresses and other women, Rosse’s father Richard Gibson was a miniaturist from whom she received her training. Her works were generally very small, with some no larger than an inch in length. Portrait miniature was popular in England in the seventeenth century, and Rosse became one of the best-known artists of this genre.