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Marcus Harvey (1963 - Present) is an English sculptor and figurative painter who belongs to the generation of Young British Artists (YBAs). Harvey currently lives and works in London.
Having grown up in a suburb of Leeds, Harvey attended Allerton Grange High School before graduating from Goldsmiths College in 1986, where he became close friends with fellow artist Damien Hirst. When Hirst curated the 1994 group exhibition ‘Some Went Mad, Some Ran Away’ at the Serpentine Gallery in London, he included Harvey’s work in the show, which in turn attracted the attention of businessman Charles Saatchi.
Most known for his controversial 9-by-11-foot portrait of Moors murderer Myra Hindley, created using handprints taken from a plaster cast of a child’s hand and exhibited in 1997 at the Royal Academy of Art, Harvey’s work often draws from the iconography of British popular culture. The painting sparked unprecedented media attention, even leading to two incidents of attack on the painting. Amalgams of historical and artistic references, his portraits have featured personages from Napoleon Bonaparte to Tony Blair, and harness the power of the photographic image, engrained in the British psyche through media reproduction.
In several works, Harvey mixes mediums skilfully, bringing together painting, photography and sculpture with a collage-like result. More recent works include gestural figurative paintings made by Harvey on top of photographic prints of landscapes and figures, thus obscuring the image beneath.