Canadian (born in England), b. 1939
Look at Me, 1986
acrylic, oil on canvas
172.7 x 213.4 cm
Collection of the Winnipeg Art Gallery; Gift of William A. Bruning
Recognized for her large abstract paintings, Diane Whitehouse has never dealt with pure abstraction as her work is always based on a source that exists in the real world. For a substantial part of the 1980s, the central theme of her paintings dealt with the visual structure and subject of the room as a vehicle of expression. Whitehouse often uses concepts and concerns related to women. This painting in particular explores the place between comfort and confinement. In the WAG work, the shadowy presence of a figure alludes to both the body’s absence and its vulnerability. Look at Me is inspired by the novel of the same title by acclaimed British author Anita Brookner, where the main character’s turmoil revolves around presenting a quiet unassuming persona to the outside world yet internally is desperately seeking attention and recognition.