Portfolio > Floating Faces 2004 - 2008

Blue Monochrome
oil on linen
22" x 18
2008

I would end up in art museums often, and needed to find projects that would take me from one room to another in a purposeful way. I had always been taught to study portraits carefully, especially if the artist was Rembrandt, or Velasquez, or somebody like that.

The didactic panels in museums often try to interpret the "emotions" of the sitter, as conveyed by the sitter's face, often falling into cliched narratives based on their socio-historical knowledge of the sitter. The portraits I liked best were the ones where the expressions almost looked photographic, not posed, caught by a faster shutter speed at an in between moment, something I'd explored in photography. I called these ones 'proto-photographic'. They might be a truer expression of what the sitter was feeling, or they might be random.

I tried to get more specific, assigning in the titles to each face a particular emotion, and in the series of twenty portraits was able to cover a range. Although I don't believe the interpretations are very stable, they may be an indicator of my own projections at the time.

Knowing it would be my last painting project, when the exhibition came down I gave all the paintings away to those who wanted them, first come first serve, limited to 1 or 2 per household.