Jonathan Yeo - Critical Reception

Critical Reception

In his Guardian review of the Blair portrait, Jonathan Jones accuses Yeo and his subject of conspiring to manipulate the image of the former PM, claiming that, 'Blair is a tacit co-conspirator who walked in wearing the poppy, then sat as bleak as he looks here, in invitation to the artist to home in on that tell-tale paper flower.'

Some commentators have suggested that, by making portraits and other work which poke fun at the politicians and celebrities they depict, he risks alienating the very people whom he used to paint very successfully. NPG director Sandy Nairne was reported as being concerned about Yeo pushing the porn collage theme too far saying 'the Bush collage was a riposte. And there was a certain logic in that riposte. What is more puzzling is what happens after that.'

Other critics and commentators have been more supportive, however, Charles Saumarez-Smith, former Director of the National Gallery and Royal Academy, said of the porn-collage of Lucian Freud, 'Yeo is the young rising star of portraiture and Freud is the acknowledged master. It’s a homage that has its tradition in the past. Painters would quite often do portraits of other artists they admired. Admittedly this one of Freud is rather different as Yeo has used this other dimension – people’s private parts.'

Yeo has been quoted as saying that his next body of work will explore the world of cosmetic surgery.

Read more about this topic:  Jonathan Yeo

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