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Beneath the Skin. An exhibition of paintings and other works by Annabel Mednick

24 Jan 2018 4:45PM

An award winning artist will be exhibiting her latest body of work at the University of Suffolk next month.

Beneath the Skin by Annabel Mednick is an exploration in paint of the life and capability of Leo Collins. In early 2015 Leo, a transgender female to male with cerebral palsy, approached Annabel. He wanted to show that disability and constant movement is not a barrier to exploring life. 

Annabel comments “The idea of painting and drawing someone who moved, and who had altered his external appearance to fit more with what he felt like on the inside, appealed to me. Two years on, we now have a body of work that is ready to be presented in a touring exhibition that will incorporate paintings and drawings alongside film, sound and poetry. The exhibition invites the viewer to look at the person rather than the disability, but without pretending that the disability is not there. The exhibition also provides a basis for talks and audience discussion about issues related to disability and appearance, and can be installed in a variety of venues.”

“Over the time that Leo and I have been working together, we have developed a strong and intimate relationship, which I hope shows in the work. Taking a nebulous idea and letting it develop has been very rewarding.  But one of the unexpected and surprising outcomes I have found is the difficulty in showing movement and change in the still image, especially with the expressive marks of paint. Whilst photography can often show movement more effectively, paint can be subtler, revealing softer layers.”

Annabel Mednick has exhibited internationally and won awards for her work, including at the BP National Portrait Gallery Portrait Awards.

Carol Gant, Arts Curator at the University of Suffolk, said “The theme of identity has been explored throughout art history and is still a central theme in contemporary art. This exhibition explores, through a series of paintings and drawings, the relationship between perceived and actual identity.”

Dr Allison Boggis, Director of Childhood Studies and Course Leader for Special Educational Needs and Disability Studies at the University of Suffolk, added “This exhibition demonstrates that disability has so many dimensions. The work is incredible and will be a topic of discussion for my students for a long time to come. We are privileged to have the opportunity for this exhibition to be in Ipswich.”

Beneath the Skin opens at the Waterfront Gallery, University of Suffolk on Monday 5 February.

On Thursday 8 February a panel discussion will take place from 6pm covering the topic of ‘How does Beneath the Skin challenge preconceived ideas about identity?’ It will be chaired by BBC Radio Suffolk’s Stephanie Mackentyre and the panel will include Annabel Mednick, Leo Collins, Dr Allison Boggis from the University of Suffolk and  Hugh Whittall from Nuffield Council on Bioethics. Members of the public are invited to attend. Book your free place by clicking here

On Saturday 10 February an Open House will take place from 10am-1.30pm offering the chance to see artist Annabel Mednick and Leo Collins at work.


University of Suffolk Press Office
T: 01473 338476