About the Artist Teresa Witz

Teresa Witz in the BBC News Studio Olympic Artist 2012

Teresa Witz is an internationally renowned portrait painter of modern icons – celebrity, athlete, and sporting figures – as well as accepting individual commissions for portraits. A year after achieving her Doctorate in Fine Art, she was appointed one of the official Olympic artists for the London 2012 Games.

Her original education began with; a BA(Hons) from Wolverhampton College of Art, a certificate in Art Therapy from the Birmingham School of Art, a degree in Fine Art Practice from the Sir John Cass School of Art, an MA in Fine Art from the University of East London and most recently a Doctorate in Fine Art from the University of East London.

For the Games, Teresa, produced 10 highly detailed life-sized paintings portraying Olympic and Paralympic athletes. The original oil paintings, completed over three years, were produced after long lengths of time spent with the individual athletes, in order for the artist to capture their personalities, physical presence and approaches to competing. She met them, travelled around the country to watch and sketch them in training, and the athletes then visited her studio in east London.

These paintings were shown around Britain in the run up to the Games and were then exhibited at Heathrow’s T5 Gallery. Copies of the paintings were produced for a special outside installation over the entire duration of the Olympics. They were exhibited throughout Jubilee Park at Canary Wharf – one of London’s main social hubs for enjoying the Games.
The portraits were praised for capturing the spirit of the 2012 Games, and creating a legacy for future generations. The images were shown on world-wide television and Teresa was interviewed by the BBC about her work.
There are various strands to Teresa’s portraits. One has developed out of an interest in the power of iconic images in the contemporary mediatised world. Another strand focuses on figurative portraiture where she has sought to create dissonance by playing with the direction of the subjects gaze.

“My earlier work was primarily concerned with style and the vanitas (memento mori) theme, both of which have recurred throughout my paintings. This developed into an interest in creating contemporary iconic images of celebrity personalities (style leaders). I selected certain ubiquitous celebrity icons, such as footballer David Beckham, and his wife Victoria Beckham and pop stars Kylie Minogue and Cher. I was fascinated by how they continually re-invented themselves for mass consumption.

I also started to explore ways of portraying ‘iconic unknowns’, which involved transforming ordinary, working women into modern icons. I started to explore different ways of presenting women by focusing in particular on the direction of their gaze, the extent of their absorption, the object of their gaze, the type of pose, the style of dress and the role of the observor.

I looked at ways that I could stage for example, mementoes, furnishings, fashion, lifestyle and details taken from their home decoration.
Teresa’s contemporary and highly detailed portraits and paintings have been collected by people from every walk of life, including celebrities, professional athletes and business executives. Her work has been widely exhibited in the UK and internationally.

Group Exhibitions

2016

2015

  • The Apartment 7th Event
  • T5 Gallery, Heathrow, Exhibition of Audrey Hepburn paintings
  • The Apartment 6th Event, London E3
  • The Apartment 5th Event, London E3

2014

  • The Apartment 4th Event, London E3
  • Bow Arts Open Studios, London E3
  • T5 Gallery, Heathrow (new paintings)
  • The Apartment 2nd Event, London E3
  • The Menier Gallery, London SE1
  • The Apartment, London E3
  • T5 Gallery, Heathrow, Exhibition of gallery artists (on-going)
  • The Wanstead Art Trail, London E11
  • Bow Arts, London E3

2012

  • The Apartment, London E3
  • BT Art of Sport:
  • Clarendon Gallery, Mayfair, London
  • Lewis Elton Gallery, Guildford, Surrey
  • DeMontford Gallery, Manchester
  • Manchester Town Hall, Paralympic World Cup
  • O2 Gallery, Oxford

2011

  • Manchester Town Hall, Paralympic World Cup
  • ‘Hare Styling’. Heartbreak gallery, Exhibition for Great Ormond St Hospital
  • BT Art of Sport, BT Tower, London
  • InfamE – Celebrity Art, Formans Smokehouse Gallery, London E3
  • ‘Legacy-High Performance Art’, T5 Gallery, Heathrow
  • Salon Exhibition, Formans Smokehouse Gallery
  • ‘Art of Sport & David Weir’ with V&A Olympic Posters, Europa Gallery, Sutton

2010

  • ‘The Art of Sport’, Henley Regatta, Henley-on-Thames
  • Canada House, ‘The Art of Sport’ Winter Olympics, Trafalgar Square,   London
  • T5 Gallery, Heathrow, ‘Art of Sport’

2009

  • Lloyds Bank Private Banking’s Exhibition
  • ‘Pick’n’Mix’, Woolworths, London E11
  • Bow Arts Trust, London E3

2006

  • St Bartholomew-the-Less, Barts Hospital, London

2005

  • The Shop Gallery, Whitechapel, London EC2

2004

  • The Menier Gallery, Chocolate Factory, London SW1

2002

  • The Prenelle Floating Barge Gallery, Canary Wharf, London

2001

  • East London Gallery, London E15

2000

  • 23 Underwood Street, Hoxton, London

Solo Exhibitions

2012

  • T5 Gallery, Heathrow. Exhibition of life size portraits of Olympic & Paralympic Athletes
  • Jubilee Park, Canary Wharf. Outdoor installation of life size portraits of  2012 Olympic & Paralympic Athletes
  • The Window Gallery, Canary Wharf, London

2008

  • Fine Art Doctorate Exhibition, The AVA Gallery, University of East London
  • The Corner gallery, Carshalton Beeches, Surrey

2007

  • The Drawing Room, AVA, University of East London

2006

  • The Shop Gallery,  London EC2
  • Colebrookes, Islington, London

2005

  • The Shop Gallery, London EC2

2004

  • The Chambers Gallery, London EC1

2002

  • University Gallery, London E16