Ruth Smith (1913-58): Self-portrait. 1955. Oil on canvas, 79 x 85 cm
You need a mirror and a steady gaze for a self-portrait. The artist has captured herself with large, staring eyes behind the glasses. Those eyes are also fixed on us.
We can only see indirectly that the person we have in front of us is an artist. A jar with brushes and a painting belong to the surroundings of the slim figure.
The artist would almost melt into the background if it were not for her bright blue cardigan and her scrutinising eye. An eye for colours - harmony, tensions and tonal clusters, expressed with intense brush strokes.
The almost timid self-portrait is totally different from the other - more self-conscious version - also on display in the gallery. The artist is trying out different roles, multiple aspects of her personality in the world of colours.