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Sir Shridath Ramphal (portrait) by Tom Wood

Sir Shridath Ramphal (portrait) by Tom Wood
Accession Code: wu0800
Title: Sir Shridath Ramphal (portrait)
Date completed: 2001
Medium: Painting
Location Name: Senate House
Location Floor:1

Portraits play an important but not exclusive role in the work of Tom Wood. He has spent most of his life in West Yorkshire and works from a studio in a converted mill in Halifax. In discussing his approach to portraiture, Wood has said: "... my great hero has always been Holbein and the North European tradition of Van Eyck, Campin, Memlinc and Van der Veyden. That stiffness and Flemish formality along with a kind of Gothic abruptness of forms appeals far more than a southern Renaissance liquidity."

In this portrait, Tom Wood has introduced elements that relate to the life and work of Sir Shridath Ramphal. The Chancellor's robes are laid to one side. This might hint at his departure from this role but they also offer a balance to the Commonwealth Office behind Sir Shridath and introduce him as a man who has several strong roles and interests which he holds in balance. A map of Guyana, where Sir Shridath was born almost serves as a landscape element with the blue sea offering a sky behind the subject's head. This element also introduces Wood's interest in the paradox of painting: that it is a two dimensional object purporting to represent a three dimensional space. Wood admires the work of Braque, Nicholson and Scott and enjoys undoing the illusion of three dimensions and reminding the viewer of the power of paint.