In his essay, “On the Unrepresentable in Pictures,” art historian James Elkins discusses our contemporary interest in representations that fail. These inadequate images signal the inadequacy of representation.
I have an abiding interest in the inadequacy of of representation. My inability to produce an accurate,”real” and lasting image encourages me to continue making images. What Elkins describes as the “irresolvable ambiguities” of representation provide a vast, emancipatory territory for the image maker to explore.
I’m not sure why, but I keep trying to figure out why I’m doing what I’m doing. This preoccupation is getting in the way of just making the work.
So. I’ve started a new notebook. I’ll just see where it takes me.
In his essay, “The Portrait’s Dispersal” Ernst Van Alphen describes contemporary portraiture as “a problematic genre” that represents “the loss of self instead of its consolidation.” The fragile and provisional subjectivity represented within a contemporary portrait cannot (and will not) bestow authority on its subject, as traditional portraiture was thought to do.
These small drawings represent faces that emerge from a process of material exploration as well as a meditation on the limits of representation. If a face is not based on a particular subject, can it still be a face?
Each 4.25 x 5.5″ watercolour graphite on paper
If a portrait is a representation that points to a specific person, then a representation that is anonymous or non-specific cannot be a portrait.