Thursday, November 22, 2012

Portrait of an Artist

 30 years ago I painted a quick portrait of an artist for my mother.  Although I did not typically paint self-portraits my mother thought it looked like me.   It was done quickly and she immediately put it up on her wall where it remained until they needed to downsize as they transitioned into a smaller apartment.  She asked if I would take the picture home with me which I did.   Over the years as I would look at it I would see little problems that really began to annoy me.   I saw issues with the figure’s hands, sleeves,  and shoulders and now that I had it in my studio I could finally have my way with it.  I decided that I did not want to do anything radical like changing the posture or background in order to retain the essential integrity of the piece.  And if and when my mom saw it again she would not be offended.  So now as you see the latest version, you will notice that ‘the artist’ has not aged terribly but he did inherit a smock, a couple brushes, a derby and a little ruff collar for good measure.

Monday, November 5, 2012


We are amalgams, the results of arbitrary confluences and unexpected social interactions.   How we perceive, identify, and define ourselves is related to all of these disparate parts having been put together in a kind of social cubism.  
This is the approach I have followed in creating these three portraits called Patches.  Originally I had drawn three similar but not identical portraits from the same point of view.  Then I cut them each into small squares , mixed the squares up, and randomly reassembled the pieces to form new inventions of the portraits,  with new identities, new narratives.  
Dating back to my earliest forays into art making I have been intrigued by the portrayal of the human face, what it evokes, and how and why it is represented.   Sometimes it approximates a likeness, other times it is a mere abstraction.  It can reveal.  It can conceal.  Or with a few strokes of a pen, pencil, brush, or collage, it can capture the essence and spirit of a subject.   I believe these portraits fall somewhere in between.