Poker Face : Holly Frean, NYC

10 June - 13 July 2015

'Poker Face is an exhibition for anyone susceptible to the allure of playing cards, multiple images, humour, Picasso, chickens, dogs and British royals. The process of drawing and painting many versions of a single figure helps me make sense of my chosen subject matter.' - Holly Frean


Characterised by oblique - and playful - glimpses into the lives of artists and the history of art, London- based Frean's paintings are infused with lightness of tone. But it is a lightness that buoys up - rather than undermines - a seriousness of purpose. Her work acknowledges the fragility of art and celebrates its triumph. Over the past decade, Frean has evolved a succinct and abbreviated style, adeptly illustrated in her playing card format. Beginning her career as a relatively conventional portrait painter, she uses this background to suggest so much with so little: the shape of a head and the weight of a stance are enough to give a full account of a face or figure.


Frean has exhibited extensively in the UK and the USA. In 2012, she won the National Open Art Competition Painting Prize (awarded by Grayson Perry), as well as having her work selected by the critic Skye Sherwin for the ING Discerning Eye exhibition at the Mall Galleries, London.