A member of the London-based Intoart collective who have a permanent studio at Studio Voltaire, Doreen McPherson has never received a mainstream art education. Her hypnotic, detailed portraits – most of which are executed in graphite pencil, charcoal and pen – have been exhibited at Tate Modern and her work has been included in group presentations at MADMuseé, Liege and the Whitechapel Gallery.

Lady with hand over her mouth is characteristic of Doreen McPherson’s distinctive style. The strong sense of light and dark, with particular emphasis around the hair and facial features, is achieved primarily through shading with graphite pencil. There is an energy and urgency to the bold, heavy lines and a potent sense that the artist has captured the essence of the subject.



Francesca Gavin says “This is from a series of portraits she did from a show with Studio Voltaire about four years ago and it’s very 'scrawly', almost an outsider art approach to something which I found really fascinating. She’s based in London and she’s shown in a lot of places, she’s been working for a longer time, I think she’s one of the most established artists for a long period. Often, it’s very figurative - a lot of faces, a lot of heads, I like the way they remind me of weird old ladies a lot of the time, which is always interesting.

She has learning disabilities so she’s coming from a different background, which is really interesting. There’s a real intuitive approach to that. What I really like about showing work like this alongside work by very well known, established artists is the contrast – I think a lot of contemporary art gets a sense of more emotion through this perhaps, and I think it establishes her as a rightful equal to a lot of artists who are working in a more conventional background, and I find that really interesting and I think she’s also just intuitively good. For me, this image is all about stress – “oops!” sending an email to the wrong person, that kind of vibe! And I think this would work as part of a trio with the Caragh Thuring and Dawn Mellor - they would hang well together.”

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