Face Value

An exhibition selected from the Arts Council Collection.

Face Value at The Burton at Bideford brings together more than 45 original works by some of the country’s most celebrated twentieth-century and contemporary artists, including David Hockney, Barbara Hepworth, Lucian Freud, L.S. Lowry and Chris Ofili.

Designed to appeal to people-watchers and art lovers alike, Face Value focuses on the varied styles and techniques artists employ to depict the human form. The exhibition features works by 34 different artists working in a variety of media from drawing and painting to collage, sculpture, photography and film.

Face Value documents an age-long obsession with portraiture and asks us to consider how and why images of people have continued to fascinate artists and viewers throughout time. We learn how portraiture is rarely about simply capturing a likeness; portraits are also about place, popular culture and politics. The exhibition includes traditional seated portraits alongside more casual scenes of people at work and at leisure – in the barbers, at the beach or heading off to the pub. It’s not often that we have the opportunity of getting so close to another human being, of studying facial expression and glimpsing into what it means to be human.

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The Arts Council Collection is the UK's most widely seen collection of modern and contemporary art.

With more than 8,000 works by over 2,000 artists, it can be seen in exhibitions and public displays across the country and beyond. This website offers unprecedented access to the Collection, and information about each work can be found on this site.