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Daniel Silver

Exhibition dates: 23 February - 21 April 2007 

"Daniel Silver presents an extraordinary new body of work, consisting of over 100 life-size stone portrait busts which populate the gallery like a forest of heads. The artist is interested, first and foremost, in how a traditional form - the classical portrait bust - can be reinvented for the 21stcentury. For Silver, portraits are not merely representations, but act as "embodiments"; he aims to create a sense of life emanating from an object within a playfully contemporary idiom.

Silver's collective portrait combines styles and motifs from different historical moments and different cultures. Silver's range of references reflects his cosmopolitan background, being born in London to parents of African descent, raised in Jerusalem and currently based in the UK. Here, his portraits resemble both African tribal sculpture and early 20th century 'primitivist' sculptures by such figures as Picasso, Jacob Epstein and Henri Gaudier-Brezska.

Whilst resembling non-Western and historical art forms, Silver's subjects are based upon images of condemned men in the United States in our own time. The artist remarks of his cast of characters, "they are witnesses - they all know that something has happened, and have a collective knowledge or memory. They seem to share this with us, but do not share it at the same time." In their presence we feel a glimmer of recognition, maybe as their features have been reproduced through the world's media. The objects possess a darkly totemic power, the figures remain anonymous, their features having been eroded away by forces beyond their control.

Daniel Silver; installation shot from 'Demos', 2007

Daniel Silver: Detail of carving from 'Demos', 2007

Daniel Silver: Detail of carving from 'Demos', 2007