In May 2014 The Fine Art Society held an exhibition of new work by Annie Kevans - Women and the History of Art. Kevans' work has always reflected an interest in the relation between power and identity and in every new series the British painter investigates inherited belief systems. The exhibition centred on women in art history who were once part of the art world and whose history and significance have been gradually eroded.
Kevans has long examined the duality of truth and falsehood throughout her work, which she does by creating 'portraits' which may or may not be based on real documentation. For this exhibition Kevans presents over thirty new paintings that depict successful women artists, opening up a dialogue about their importance and significance. Although many have been championed in the last decades having been 'rediscovered' by later art historians, these women remain 'seperate' from art history.
Kevans shines a light on artists such as Sofonisba Anguissola who was the first Italian woman to become an international known artist in her own time. Other artist are known for their personal lives but their works remain invisible. Despite being the first woman painter admitted to the Societe Nationale des Beaux-Arts, Suzanne Valadon is more famous for her peronal relationships with Renoir, Erik Satie and Degas. Like many of her female contemporaries, her name means nothing to the general public or to many female artists working today.
Throughout her many series, which always show an affinity for the marginalised, Kevans has always found a new way of perceiving figures from the past. Whether child stars, dictators or the insane, Kevans captures a piercing insight and imbues her subjects with a tangible humanity and sensuality. She believes that a person's identity is not preset but is a shifting temporary constuction and her work questions our verdicts on history and perceptions of intellectual solidity.
Since graduating from Central St Martins School of Art & Design in 2004, Kevans has had solo exhibitions in New York, London and Vienna. Her work has featured in numerous group shows in the UK, Germany, Austria, Italy and the US. She has been a finalist in the Women of the Future awards and the Jerwood Drawing Prize. Her work can be found in the Pallant House Gallery, the David Roberts Collection, 21c Museum and the Saatchi Collection. Kevans is currently exhibiting a series of works commissioned by Jean Paul Gaultier at his Barbican show, From the Sidewalk to The Catwalk.