Chantal Joffe

Born 1969 Vermont, USA


Chantal Joffe is known for her expressive portraits of women and children, painted in vibrant colours with broad, fluid brushstrokes. Joffe completed an Art Foundation course at Camberwell College of Arts, London, in 1988, before studying for a BA in Fine Art at Glasgow School of Art in 1988–91. During this time she met the artist Ishbel Myerscough with whom she has been close friends ever since. Over the course of their artistic careers, Joffe and Myerscough have often created portraits of each other and of each other’s children. Joffe received her MA in Painting from the Royal College of Art in London where she studied between 1992–94. In her paintings, Joffe draws on a large range of source material including family photographs, advertising images, fashion magazines and pornography. She often paints herself and those close to her including her mother whom she has painted repeatedly for over thirty years. Her paintings range in scale from a few inches squared to monumental canvases which require the use of scaffolding to be created. 


Artwork Information

Fraser (2016)

Fraser is a portrait of Ishbel Myerscough’s son as an adolescent, painted on a small, intimate scale. In the painting Fraser sits on a brightly coloured sofa which creates a contrast with his pale, unclothed body. His head and legs are cropped as if it was a snapshot. His pose, with hands interlaced, creates the impression of awkwardness and innocence. The painting is a companion piece to Myerscough’s Fraser (Boyhood) (2017), also in the WAC. In contrast with Myerscough’s highly detailed composition, Joffe’s work is painted with loose, visible brushstrokes. Fraser’s meticulously observed freckles in Myerscough’s painting come to be symbolised in a single mark on his upper lip in Joffe’s, showing the difference in their painterly approaches.