Alice Irwin is a London-based artist who is currently doing her MA in printmaking at the Royal College of Art. Her work explores themes of identity and anthropology, and is at once abstract and figurative. A talented draughtsman, works such as Face beautifully capture the form and essence of the character; whilst the directness and intensity of the gaze is highly compelling, if not somewhat unsettling.
Alice is intrigued by the extent to which one's identity is interpreted and deciphered through the face alone. It is one of the first things that we react to and interact with when meeting a person; as well as what we instinctively learn to recognise and read as infants. As Simon Schama says:"when we become human, and our eyes adjust to the raw light of the world, the first thing we see is the face."
In the present series, Crowd of Identities, Alice has created abstracted interpretations of faces, employing use of vivid colour and decorative embellishments. These works were made by printing the etching plate directly onto canvas, which she later hand-painted with these unique details. The combination of using a method of mass-production with one of hand-painting serves as a metaphor for humanity, which comprises both homogenised 'crowds' as well as highly individualistic beings. As viewers, we are instinctively drawn to some faces from this crowd more than others, and Alice invites us to form our own crowd compositions based on our own identities and aesthetic preferences.