Chantal Joffe

Chantal Joffe | For Esme – with Love and Squalor

Thursday, 3rd September 2020 to Sunday, 22nd November 2020, 12:00 to 17:00
Free entry. Exhibition slots bookable in advance.

Poppy, Esme, Oleanna, Gracie and Kate, Chantal Joffe, 2014 oil on canvas
© Chantal Joffe courtesy the artist and Victoria Miro

Known for her intimate portrayal of women, captured within rich layers of paint, Chantal Joffe’s work feels ever more timely and poignant in its ability to portray the ‘fragility of life’.

Recognised as one of Britain’s foremost painters, Joffe explores the intimate act of painting and portraiture, bringing back to life Arnolfini’s rich history of exhibiting pioneering painters.

Exclusive to Arnolfini and spanning new and existing works, highlights include a recent series of startlingly honest self-portraits. Produced one a day over the course of a year they capture both the artist and her environment – from London’s cool winter light to the haze of a summer in the stifling New York heat – shown alongside new, large-scale works in both pastel and oil.

These explorations of Joffe’s own ‘self’ (which at times can appear both uncomfortably close and hauntingly detached) are situated amongst the familiarity of family and friends (including writers and artists drawn from history), watched and witnessed across the years. Even amidst this myriad of characters that populate the artist’s world, Joffe’s presence is felt unflinchingly throughout, slipping and sliding between the role of artist and subject.

Paintings old and new also capture the artist’s mother and daughter, alongside dear friends (such as fellow artist Ishbel Myerscough). Portrayed both alone, in groups or alongside the artist, the differences between solitude and company feel particularly resonant – to paraphrase Dorothy Price, art historian and long-time collaborator of Joffe, Joffe’s work ‘traces a finger of time through the very act of being alive.’

We are delighted to have Chantal’s exhibition at Arnolfini which will be shown along with Hassan Hajjaj: The Path which runs until 1 November 2020.

Chantal Joffe
Born in 1969, Chantal Joffe lives and works in London and has exhibited nationally and internationally. She holds an MA from the Royal College of Art and was awarded the Royal Academy Wollaston Prize in 2006. Her recent solo exhibition titled Personal Feeling is the Main Thing at The Lowry, Salford (2018) presented works from across Joffe’s career addressing themes of portraiture, motherhood, passing time and art’s relationship to history. Joffe has recently created a major new public work for the Elizabeth line station at Whitechapel. Titled A Sunday Afternoon in Whitechapel, the work will be on view when the Crossrail station opens in 2021.

Chantal Joffe is represented by Victoria Miro, who have supported the exhibition’s development alongside the work of Professor Dorothy Price, University of Bristol, who has collaborated with Joffe for a number of years, including co-curating Personal Feeling is the Main Thing at The Lowry in 2018.

Joffe is represented by Victoria Miro, London, a full artist CV can be accessed via the gallery website at

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