Saturday, September 9, 2017

Manscapes in words

I'm trying to put into words what I am doing with these large partial portraits of men. (bare with me, this might get a bit rambly)
My initial impulse to make these paintings was to try to create something interesting from the smaller studies I had done with graphite on paper. I translated a few of the graphite studies into chalk pastel on paper and was excited with the potential for them to go further: large scale paintings. The concerns I had for the paintings was that I had to be sure that my drawing was sound because I didn't want to use a projector to upscale these. I felt that the last series I had done with the aid of the projector highlighted the flattening of an image. I wanted to try and see if I could work with the distortions inherent in my translating small studies into larger works. Another concern I had was that I wanted to see if I could blend positive and negative space to create a painting. It works so well with drawing that I wanted to see if that would also translate in paint. Ironically, this idea further flattens the image, more than the projector did, but in a much more shocking and interesting way.
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What is the reasoning for my source material? I wanted to use images of men from fashion magazines, because I feel that the concept of masculine beauty is something that I haven't dealt with too deeply in my work. I always gravitate to the female subject. It might be interesting to explore how the portrayal of beauty in these magazines falls short, or how limiting it is. Maybe shallow? Paint is only skin-deep. (good subtitle for the series)
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What's next? How can I take these images to the next level? I might try to exaggerate the compositions so that the topography of the face becomes more apparent. At the same time, I could amp up the gestural quality of the mark-making. I'm going to try some smaller ones before going big again. (cuz I might go art-school sized big when I do them)

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