Peter Stichbury’s portraits of wide-eyed, flawlessly polished, and sharply dressed figures are both captivating and uncanny. Stichbury employs a cool color palette—icy grey for the eyes, mannequin-cream for the skin—expelling all traces of human warmth or internal, emotional activity. Despite their manicured appearances, the figures avert their eyes as if nervous or insecure. Like the generic representations of celebrities and other public figures from which the artist culls some of his subjects, the images he produces incite stifling feelings of isolation and alienation. Painted with stunning precision, Stichbury’s painting technique invites comparison to airbrushing and the compulsive obsession with cultivating the perfect public image.
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