October 4, 2013

what does love see?


"meditation on Rembrandt's Portrait of Vaters" conte and pastel on paper. 22" x 30"



Modernism’s eye can be unkind. I think of Diane Arbus’ crisp clean portraits of the world’s strangers. To me they feel clinical, curious and detached.

But love’s gaze must be equally specific. Love doesn’t generalize.

I see this man: lines extending from his mouth to his jaw; wrinkles around his eyes when he smiles; the hollow in his neck just behind the left jaw; the way he blinks and stutters just a bit; the way he rolls the “r”s when he says “corrida.”

To me the portraiture of love is not generalized; does not cover over the particular or the blemished or the scarred—because these are the very features that identify this particular person and which—in love—are more important than some abstract, ideal view of beauty or elegance.

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These studio notes are scraps of poetry and ideas that feed my work as a painter. I hope they establish a bit of context for the paintings and my intention in making them. Whatever I paint, I’m trying to create some space for us to sit with the questions that are not meant to be answered.

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