Pertwee, Anderson and Gold are proud to present a series of provocative painted portraits by Darren Coffield.

Inverting the iconic, the displaced eyes stare from chins whilst mouths hover under brows; faces we are hard wired to instantly recognize, from Marilyn Monroe to Kate Middleton, Harry Styles to Hitler, which are at once familiar and farcical. 


Through the exploration of celebrity, identity and perception, Coffield’s works destabilize the viewer’s instinctive faculties to create some of the most stimulating portraits of recent years. Living in a world whereby the face has become both celebrated and powerful as well as reductive and mutated, from security systems to photo-shopped advertising campaigns, Masters of Reality provokes the viewer to reconsider the role of facial features within the modern cultural landscape.  

These works sensitively reinterpret primal features of the physiognomy. Each portrait’s dynamic aesthetic individually reflects the personality of the famous subject; even in their reordered state the features retain the character of the sitter. Our reaction is instant- and yet lingering with doubt.


Coffield explains: “There is now an excessive exposure to faces in the media. We see in the media faces that have been idealised, manipulated and touched up. When viewed, the face creates in the mind a kind of Orwellian doublethink. We know that we are viewing a manipulated ‘untruth’ and yet we hold the image to be true, a notion of beauty to obtain or aspire to. The face has a strong social, cultural and historical role.  An inverted face is not only difficult to recognise but repositions our sensitivity to the spatial relationships between human features. Here, facial features become strange constellations of communication, whilst new facial recognition patterns emerge.”