Thatcher, 2013, Oil on Panel, 20x30cm
This portrait of Margaret Thatcher was fabricated shortly after her death and was made in response to the profusion of media circulating in the aftermath. The particular source photograph, to which the painting refers, depicts Thatcher in her later years. This was a distinguishing feature and unusual as much of the mainstream media chose images from her term in office. The painting process has placed the image in the tradition of aristocratic portraiture. The dark background, direct profile and regal clothing already pointed to that tradition and the painted format simply reifies the notion. All of these attributes conspire to imbue the painted object with a monarchical quality and so subverts the assumed objectivity of the photographic source. Despite adhering closely to the reference image, the initial impression is not that of a previous prime minister but of an individual of nobility. Through an alteration of format and thus context, the images original narrative is lost and replaced with one which presents Thatcher as a member of the dominating, ruling elite.