To Thine Own Self
Terri Broughton | Oil on Canvas | 48 x 36 inches
“A seated, red cheeked woman stares out at the viewer. There is a partially displayed STOP sign behind and to the right of the chair. She has taught strings in both of her wrists. One of the strings has a knot in it. Her feet have loose strings which drape onto the floor. In her left hand she holds an object to enable her to control the Pinocchio puppet which stands upright. One taught, frayed string is attached to his head and stretches up and out of the canvas. A red ball sits in the left corner of the painting.” Terri
Terri Broughton had an inauspicious start in life following the death of both her parents, but she went on to become the head of a secondary school in Kings Lynn, a highly qualified coach, and a successful educational consultant before finding her current home as a highly sought-after artist.
She was awarded a Tate Modern prize for her master’s degree, ‘The Identity Project’, in which she pioneered a questioning and challenging of first year A level art students on how their self-beliefs and values tended to inhibit their creative potential. It was a project that turned art education on its head and was incorporated into the National Curriculum in the UK for all year groups.
“For 30 years I wrestled with two opposing forces- a deep yearning to paint and the belief that I was not a painter, which was drummed into me as a child. She says, ‘when I finally did start painting after all those years it felt like throwing open the windows of an old dark house and filling it with light and revitalising air.” Terri
During the tumultuous last few years Terri has been working tirelessly to create an extensive body of work which, while often narrative, explores the psychological behaviours of people.
“I’ve always been fascinated by people, and as an oil painter I try to bring stories to life,” she says. “Many of them are my own and some are blended. I try to evoke emotion through my work, using allegory, symbolism, and metaphor. I do not want to paint replicas- I want to capture the psychology of a person or a situation.”
It is an approach that is being extraordinarily well received around the world following an exhibition in Japan Terri’s painting ‘Three Little Birds’ and ‘Resonance’ were chosen to appear on COVID-19 face masks for the Asia market.
At the prestigious summer exhibition at the Royal Academy of Arts her painting sold before the show had even opened.
Terri’s work has been presented at the international UNESCO and Meadows exhibition and she has been selected to exhibit in both the Florence and Bangladesh biennales. Terri was invited to give a presentation of her work to staff at the Tate Modern during ‘Lockdown’ and she has been recently invited to exhibit her work in the International Gallery of Art in Anchorage, Alaska this year.
Last October her work was exhibited at the Salon D’Automne on the Champs Elysees in Paris- an illustrious event which can boast Gauguin, Renoir, Picasso, Modigliani, Braque, and Chagall amongst past exhibiters. During this time, she was selected to exhibit her work at the National Art Centre in Tokyo, Japan.
In November 2021 Terri was awarded the ‘People’s Choice Award,’ for her painting, ‘Intermission’ by the Visual Artists Association.
In December 2021 she had her first solo exhibition in London’s Brick Lane, entitled ‘INSIDE OUT’. She cannot help feeling some sense of irony when she remembers her first banned exhibition in Norfolk. She says, “It was banned for being too psychologically harrowing for sensitive viewers and too challenging for general consumption. Those issues are exactly what is attracting galleries and collectors from around the world.”
Terri’s solo exhibition was deeply personal and reflected a traumatic childhood. She was only six years old when both her parents died and she was separated from both her sisters – the girls being placed with a succession of foster families, some of whom were considerably less than caring. The sisters were only to be reunited in adulthood.
“It is extremely rewarding for an artist to know that there are people who understand what you are trying to say.” She says, “I have always been fascinated by the human condition and experience, and I’m intrigued by the way our internal narratives often inhibit our true potential.
My paintings of children wearing gas masks were finished long before we appreciated what a Pandemic really meant, but they are a case in point. The masks provide protection from the toxic world outside, but they can also be seen as a personal isolation unit, preventing the children from truly engaging in the real world.”
As with much of Terri’s work, it is for the viewer to decide. She has had an extraordinary journey so far and her work is equally unique- especially for someone who only started painting just over three years ago.
“I have loved every second of it, including the times I’ve been well out of my comfort zone,’ she says. ‘There have been several ups and downs, many tears and lots of laughter but it’s all been worth it. ‘I have realised that the only thing that will ever prevent us from achieving our dreams is the way we think about the things we want to achieve.” Terri
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