Family obligations have kept me from getting out and about to see exhibitions in and around our area so the only show I can comment about is my own, currently on view at 2nd April. “Fascinating Faces from Interesting Places” is not the same collection that was at the Massillon Museum about a year ago. Since I work in a series format, the title of an exhibit rarely changes, but the pieces are always new. That concept of a career direction is also a holdover from the era of slide submissions and phones with cords on them. These past two years have seen me slowly pull away from my roots. The next two years will be a renewed and dedicated return to how I was trained to approach my own work. Changes are on the radar and when the time is right, that blog will get posted. But for now…. I shall be my own critic and discuss the drawings on view in The Loft.
First of all, The Loft is the former Mezzanine at 2nd April. Many of your local favorites (Michele W., Lynn D., Pam N., Margie K.) have rotated in and out of the space over my time at 2A. Knowing the guys were between tenants, I proposed filling the space with the available pastels….IF I could make a few changes. Being the ever so agreeable owners that they are, Brennis and Todd had no objections. The formerly dark chocolate brown/black walls are now a bright grey/white color. Light bulbs were replaced and 9 new fixtures added to increase the glow and trim was touched up to hid the age of the building.
15 pieces fit into the space by utilizing the “monster” as the trapezoidal shelving unit is now called. An artist should learn from every show they do, what works and what does not. MassMu used these really cool clear or vellum labels so I had to hunt down something close and follow their lead. I have to say, it looks pretty good. When hanging a “Women Series” show on my own, I like to have the characters engaged between canvases, looking at one another or playing one scene into the next like a big raucous party. Usually others hang those shows however so the affect is lost because curators move my layout around (to match frames or some other excuse). This time, I could place the pictures where I wanted so some of the people are reacting to each other. You may notice, you may not, but I know the story is there.
The question often arises with this series of portraits as to whether the use of the faces is legal. Yes and here’s why. I only take photos in public places or locations where cameras are permitted. People take photos all the time and if you happen to be in the background of their family scene, so be it, your face is fair game. We are all on camera almost 24/7 and do not know it. Look around you sometime, especially in parking lots, stores, banks, street corners in major cities, libraries etc….and you will see cameras. We are all public people. If I am taking pictures while sitting on a street corner, perhaps shooting the building behind you, and you walk into my shot, I got you. People will often look right at my camera; sometimes they see me taking the photo and will do some goofy face. A camera does not have to be at eye level, in fact, little work that way anymore. With the cameras built into phones, even places that “do not allow cameras”, are allowing cameras and I have seen people taking pictures in places where pictures are forbidden. I do not violate that rule. Your photo will not be taken if I am legally not to have a camera present. Public places are fair game however and I will wait for the unaware expression or just shoot in sports mode and capture quite a few to find the perfect picture.
When the drawing is done, unless the person gave permission for me to take their picture, the name or identity is not given in the title. If I know them but did not ask, the name is kept in my private records. The public label is only a location, the number in the order of the series, and maybe a few words about where I took the picture or how. Many people look a lot like other people which one discovers during the drawing process. I have a picture of an Asian man whom I just cannot draw. I have tried three times but his proportions and the expression on his face is identical to George Bush. It is weird because the photo has very little resemblance to our ex prez, but when depth and character are added to the image, he is a dead ringer. Because of that premise, people have mistaken some of my portraits for being other people that they know. My anonymity factor remains valid.
Okay, back to “reviewing” my own show. Some of the portraits are better than others as I am still learning about soft pastels and adapting to the scale factor. Yes, I draw big because these are not conventional portraits in the true sense of the word, they are meant to be drawings. The images are about process, layering, color relationships and the proportions of the expression. The traditional facial landmark structure is laid out, the same one used since elementary school, and the rest of the face is just a game of connect the dots. The more landmarks the better, give me a wrinkled face any time! What is truly amazing is see that no matter how different we all appear to be, the landmarks don’t really change all that much, a single hair in an eyebrow can shift a face entirely as Lynn Digby can attest. The annoying part is that what we see and who we see, is not who YOU the subject sees. None of us will ever see our own face; even an identical twin is different in miniscule ways. We only see a mirror reflection or a photograph, but never will we see ourselves as others do.
Okay, let’s try this again, back to reviewing my show…. I think it’s a pretty good one and shows off the new Loft space quite well. Please stop in and let me know what you think too (hence the guest book and a choice of three pens unless somebody took one….). I do believe that a new tenant will be locating to this space once my show comes down, stay tuned.