William Daniels: William Blake II (2006) at the Saatchi Gallery

Based on Thomas Phillip’s 1807 portrait, William Blake II is uncanny in its decrepit, post-apocalyptic semblance. Exchanging the rich warm hues of Georgian parlour painting for the ashen greys of his recycled study, William Daniels revives his art historical subject as a zombie-like effigy, an homage to a hero that’s both futuristic and decayed. Through Daniels’s concentrated process of working from constructed models, William Blake II resounds with a heightened sense of the presence of the subject before the artist, bringing to light issues of originality, authenticity, and the malleability of documentation.
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