'Traces of you', Gill Button, James Freeman Gallery

This show literally stoppped me in my tracks.

I was on my way to the London Art Fair on a cold, grey London morning when I caught a glimpse of a striking, melancholic painting in a window and I was instantly bewitched.

Emotion, glamour, pathos, beauty, drama, languor, nostalgia and sadness. This shows has it all.

'Traces of You’ is the first solo exhibition for the British painter Gill Button who is known for paintings that use images found in the media then recreating these as gestural, intimate portraits.


Button's close-up, monochrome portraits are especially beautiful I thought.

They drew me in with a sparse but effective use of paint and simple compositions that let the viewer focus on her subjects' eyes and almost get a glimpse of their soul.

You can see the influence of Marlene Dumas and Chantal Joffe in these pieces, not a bad thing in my books.


Her larger, more detailed compositions bring up feelings of nostalgia and an air of mystery and quirkiness while retaining a sense of intimacy throughout.

The Art Fair itself was a let down, cold, unfriendly and clinical, but I am glad that my unexpected detour to the Freeman Gallery made my trip to Islington worth it in the end.


This show is on at the James Freeman Gallery, London, until 1st February 2020.


(Photographs courtesy of the Freeman Gallery)