About Samuel Price
Samuel Price is currently studying at Leeds Arts University. His artwork takes the tropes of historical European portraiture and places diverse contemporary young people inside structures traditionally reserved for aristocracy. He aims to make powerful portraits of his generation which celebrate progress as well as empowering people with a sense of unity and solidarity. Whilst his paintings reference the past, they are grounded in the present; they are a response to the feeling of powerlessness that is prevalent during the current pandemic.
The series of four oil portraits depict Sam and his housemates. They were his initial response to being stuck in lockdown and aimed to counter the feeling of powerlessness that came with that. To give these portraits an elevating sense of grandeur he used baroque tropes such as dark backgrounds, rich colours, and chiaroscuro lighting. A focus on the fashion of his subjects not only celebrates their individualism but reflects a contemporary culture. The faces are all concealed in some way; this interruption is a rejection of traditional conventions of portraiture, shifting more power and control to the individuals.
In his series of twelve acrylic portraits ‘Forward’, Price aims to embody the idea of hope and unity between members of his generation. Whilst they reference renaissance portraiture compositionally, they reject the ideas of superiority and exclusivity associated with portraiture at that time. Each portrait draws on this history to individually imbue them with a sense of power whilst presenting them as a united whole. He juxtaposes the formality of the composition with a looser, colourful, and less restrictive style. This emphasises a sense of fun and freedom, making this series an empowering celebration of progress. These ideas are also reflected in the variety of locations, differences in fashion and diversity of the subjects.
Identity politics are an important theme within my work. I invite the viewer to ask questions about individuality, power, and representation. I want to reference these topics with a seriousness that he portrays through the expressions of the subjects in his paintings; we are all part of an important ongoing fight for a better future.