When we were water
In the series Biographs I question representation and neutrality: Is it possible to make an image with enough specificity to call it a portrait without the use of contingent identifiers such as age, gender and race? How far into non-contingency can portraiture go?
Exploring these questions, I have reassigned the non-representational qualities of abstraction to give specific meaning, and I use biographical data paired with chance to inform images of specific subjects that are categorized as various “Water Types” such as rain and ocean with attributes taken from the I Ching.
In this group of portraits, the images’ dimension is the subject’s height.
The horizontal graphite lines equal the number of years in the subject’s life. Like the rings of a tree where a year with plentiful rain produced wider rings and drought the opposite, the distance between the lines corresponds to whether it was a good year (expansive-wide) or a bad year (reductive-narrow) for the subject.
The graphite lines from the paintings extend onto the walls and may connect with adjacent portraits.
A RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN ARTISTIC PROCESS and CATEGORIES OF WATER
The action/gesture of the initial paint application corresponds to the feeling of force/energy from a person’s biography. After the paint is thrown, the “Water Type" is determined by the appearance of the result.
COLOR and SYMBOLISM
Color choices reflect biographical information, symbolic or real.
Finally, the editing process uses black or white paint, tones which I consider neutral.