Bob Dylan draws praise for Face Value at Portrait Gallery
Dylan’s pastel drawings are never less than intriguing and at times evoke the lyrical mystery of his music
What you need to know
A new exhibition of drawings by internationally renowned musician and poet, Bob Dylan, has opened at the National Portrait Gallery, London. Face Value presents 12 of Dylan's 'portraits’ of fictional characters in pastel.
The characters in the drawings have assumed names such as Ivan Steinbeck, Nick Riley, Nina Felix, and are drawn from real and imagined subjects Dylan may have encountered in his life and work. Exhibition runs until 5 January.
What the critics like
There is a "noir-ish power to these grim faces", says Zoe Pilger in The Independent. Dylan exploits the fast, expressive possibilities of pastel, conveying a sense of emotional intensity, and at times evoking the lyrical mystery of his wonderful music.
Dylan’s exhibition is "never less than intriguing", says Mark Hudson in the Daily Telegraph. His portraits resemble mugshots of the kind of beat drifters and outlaws he celebrates in his songs and the left-field artists and writers he mixes with in real life, and have a second-hand quality, which he uses cleverly to his advantage.
Dylan isn't a bad artist, and at times "he's even quite a good one", says Fisun Guner on Arts Desk. His pared down, monochrome portraits will allow Dylan obsessives to happily play who's who, while the rest of us will be relieved that he hasn't embarrassed himself.
What they don’t like
The idea of Bob Dylan at the National Portrait Gallery "far outweighs anything you’ll actually see in this modestly sized display", says Marc Hudson in the Telegraph. Still, even the crustiest old school habitué of the gallery will likely be more than a little interested. ·