Euan Uglow’s ‘Self Portrait’
The first major retrospective of Uglow’s work outside the UK is currently on show at Museum More, Gorssel, the Netherlands, until 1st September 2019. Uglow’s self-portrait (part of the Ruth Borchard Collection) is on display alongside a selection of his nudes, portraits, still lifes, landscapes and drawings, providing a unique insight into his obsessive search for visual truth.
Throughout his working life, the British painter Euan Uglow (1932–2000) sought to reproduce the experience of reality in his work. A preoccupation easier said than done, he did not rely solely on his eyes but instead used a range of devices and methods try to achieve this.
To gain a firm grip on what he saw, Uglow drew grids and other patterns on the floors and walls of his studio. He stretched thin thread across the space and hung a plumb line from the ceiling. He would even mark his sitters with crosses and dashes to use as reference points. Working in a meticulous manner, many of these measurements can still be seen in his compositions.
In his self-portrait, Uglow seems to have measured up his mirrored image onto the board. Lacking the networks of vestigial lines present in some of his larger works it reveals a sense of urgency. An attempt to detach from self to be able to objectively recreate one’s own experience.