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Some of the most tormented yet inspired paintings in the history of art have been self-portraits, notably Van Gogh, Frances Bacon and Gwen John. The self-portrait has been particularly revealing among female painters, with their readiness to open themselves up for scrutiny as compared to their male counterparts, and in reflecting their rapidly changing position in society. Curated by the Usher Gallery and exhibiting artist Susan Wilson, In the Looking Glass at the City Gallery in Leicester seeks to define the female search for the self as characterised in portraiture during the late 20th century. The exhibition deals with the complicated identities of 10 diverse woman artists, including Maggi Hambling, Lucy Jones, Jean Cook (RA) and Shani Rhys-James (her Lead White is featured right) and details how they have created and re-created themselves in their visual autobiographies.

Accompanying the show is an expansive catalogue with contributions from important contemporary writers and academics including Michele Roberts on female identity and Dr Alison Thomas, author of Portraits of Women as well as essays on the history of portraiture.

Leicester City Gallery,

90 Granby St (0116 254 0595)

4 Sept-4 Oct

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