Annie Zamero: ‘Royal Revolutions’

5th – 16th November 2019

Gallery 1

©Annie Zamero

Annie Zamero paints satirical portraits of contemporary public figures because she is interested in how those with personal power use it, and how they like to be seen by the public. She uses satire to uncover aspects of her chosen subjects that they would rather not reveal as part of their public persona, and the results are often contentious by nature. Some of the works have been featured in the Evening Standard’s Diary page, which describes Zamero as a ‘controversial artist’. She embraces this description, noting that controversy sparks interest and starts a conversation. 

Humour is an important element in the work and Zamero feels painting can be both challenging and comedic; she asks us to consider how absurd a painting can be and yet be ‘serious’. She has a sense of the ridiculous and strives for a convergence of gravitas and the cartoon. Satire can also be serious and the artist is interested in using it to uncover aspects of chosen subjects that would rather not reveal as part of their public persona.

©Annie Zamero

Each painting is set in an art historical context which brings art history into modernity, giving it a contemporary relevance. It also steeps the modern within the richness of painting tradition, echoing the characters of times long past and linking with their lives and dramas. Also it involves the idea of the political cartoon as a piece of fine art. Her main inspiration comes either from looking at old masters or from seeing media images of a public figure. She is particularly interested in the Baroque period for its sense of drama, and more recently the Rococo period for its flamboyance. 

Using art historical references with contemporary subjects brings art history into modernity, giving it a contemporary relevance. It also steeps the modern within the richness of painting tradition, echoing the characters of times long past and linking with their lives and dramas. Also it involves the idea of the political cartoon as a piece of fine art. Zamero’s main inspiration comes either from looking at old masters or from seeing media images of a public figure. The artist is particularly interested in the Baroque period for its sense of drama, and more recently the Rococo period for its flamboyance. The public figures are selected because of their personal power; they are often iconic figures. 

©Annie Zamero

Annie Zamero’s methodology involves photographing myself or others dressed in the costume of the chosen character; this increases a sense of personal involvement and helps to identify with the subject, enhancing the facility for character and expression. It also involves adopting the physicaI pose of the subject which is a technique proposed by Cecil Collins and which the artist learnt from his protoge Ruth Eisenhardt who continued his teachings after his death. In Eisenhardt’s classes, students would hold the pose of the model whilst listening to music and this ‘locked’ the muscle positions and tensions into the subconscious which greatly informed the rapid spontaneous drawings that followed. 

Zamero’s preparation includes multiple spontaneous “chance” drawings in order to incorporate accident into the final imagery and allow a sense of naivety in the cartoon-like forms. This also translates into making larger scale drawing. 

©Annie Zamero

Influences are German Expressionists, George Condo, John Currin for “creating” people (using contemporary magazine photos in an art historical context), Rembrandt for character and costume and Mauritzio Cattelan for the political cartoon as fine art. Also of contextual relevance is Alison Jackson for satirising public figures.

This show takes a retrospective look at a number of key works including those of Meghan and Harry, the Queen and Prince Charles as well as Trump, Churchill and Thatcher.

The exhibition will interest anyone with a keen sense of humour, a wry interest in the Royal Family and the sometimes absurd character of politicians in general. It will also appeal to those with a love of painting and the amazing effects paint can produce, as well as an interest in art history and it’s continuing relevance today.

©Annie Zamero

Artist Biography:

Annie Zamero is of Eastern European/Germanic descent, and is a self taught artist who graduated from Manchester University in BSc Physiology/Pharmacology, but since childhood was always painting and drawing to help make sense of the world. One of her earliest childhood memories was of her mother being straight jacketed, during a family visit to a countryside mental asylum, where her mother was a frequent patient. Humour became an important way for the young Zamero to cope with difficulty, and has featured in her satirical series of paintings.
After spending a number of years in Merchant Banking in the City of London as Banking Manager/Credit Analyst, Zamero decided her life would have more meaning and authenticity if she became a full time artist.
In 2016 Zamero’s painting of Prince Charles was featured in the lead story in the Evening Standard, Londoner’s Diary, ‘There Will Be No Revolution in East London . In 2018 her painting of Meghan and Harry was featured in two articles, Evening Standard, The Londoner, Now See Harry As The New Adonis and also Evening Standard, The Londoner, ‘Tottenham Adonis Belongs In The Palace‘ . Also Buckingham Palace wrote a complimentary letter to Zamero concerning her painting of the Queen in 2016, in response to an invitation to an exhibition showing the painting.
Zamero founded The Magma Group of artists in 2011. They have been invited to exhibit at Arthouse1 Gallery, The Other Art Fair, Griffin Gallery and others. She chaired a Symposium- Massaging The Message at Arthouse1 Gallery in 2017 with guest speakers Professor Michael Archer (Goldsmiths College), Michael Glover (The Independent art critic) and Anna McNay (Assistant Editor Art Quarterly, critic, curator). In 2014 Zamero chaired a Panel Discussion- The Role of Expression in Contemporary Art at the Griffin Gallery with Paul Carey-Kent (critic, curator), Ian Rosenfeld (Director Rosenfeld Porcini Gallery) and Nick Malone (erstwhile Professor Wisconsin University, and artist).
She has exhibited in London, New York, Liverpool, Paris, Athens and Arizona and has been selected for the Liverpool Biennial (2016 and 2010) and the European Capital of Culture Festival (2008). In 2015 She was selected for a show at the University of Kent at Canterbury by Dr Ben Thomas and by Edward Lucie- Smith for shows in 2012 and 2011.
Zamero appears in a number of published books on Stuckism, and in numerous exhibition catalogues with essays by Edward Lucie-Smith, Paul Carey-Kent, Anna McNay and Dr Chris Barlow. She has given numerous talks and interviews, including with Jude Cowan Montague on radio ResonanceFM104.4Link about satire and comedy.
Zamero is in a number of private collections in Hong Kong, Paris and London including that of art dealers Impasto Art Management.

©Annie Zamero