April 17, 2005

Mug

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So I figure it's about time I turn the camera around for a self portrait.
And in doing so, I think of the words of Tony Cu?ha, my friend and photographer:

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"OK, Dennis. Face the camera."
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"Tilt your head forward a bit, it's a better angle."
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"And glare a little bit like 'I'm gonna get you'."
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He also said: "Smile like a criminal.", but I didn't want to this time.
UPDATE:
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Oooh I'm going to get you.

Cold Snap and the last chance to sport the chill protection stylin'. I start out with what I regard as my least flattering foto for what is essentially a vanity post -well the least I can do is end comically (but the cold this winter was no joke).

Posted by Dennis at April 17, 2005 11:54 PM

3 Comments

I wonder Dennis, if the camera somehow just disappeared over night without a trace, would painters all rush back to portraiture? Or would the return come about with a slow amble, similar to the stroll towards the invention of the camera again (The next time I guess we'd go straight for the digital).
But back to portraiture, I wonder whether those already involved in this kind of thing would be at an advantage over the people who tackle, well, I don?t know, other areas and interests in painting?
Just for fun...

I've been thinking along similar lines, recalling the documentarian function of the court painter and how that has changed utterly, flipping the chapters of Goya's ouevre. Its making me reread my Benjamins.

Watching John Cleese on a BBC World program about faces, and there's a thing about how the mind maps and matches faces, how a caricaturist comes close resembling how the mind's sight works. How the brain is half devoted to sight and big chunks memory and emotion are involved. All this to say that there is an powerful visual/cognitive impulse that belies the documentarian.

Also, I recall that room for room in the Prado, verisimilitude fluctuated over the centuries, the narrative of realism's emergence doesn't seem to be proved for me there. Fungible,it was. Therefore it's not hard to think of art justifiably evolving into the many flowered form it is now and painting in particlar having the job of representation whisked away by the genie of technology.

And because there is an extremely apprehensive visual impulse that underlies the documentarian one, I think of painting perhaps as a ronin... destined to roam the earth masterless.

Perhaps why there's a protoplasmic thing going on regularly in my work, the result of trying to keep things proto-figural, I don't know. Congealing figures just seems abhorrent to me, and fizzing off into space is a no-go.

Being in between, the story of my life.

What I look for is that set of contingent marks to catch fire and provide within it's bearing, a persuasive argument for letting it grow. I guess that's why I rely on the spectre of contraposto, the great categories of painting (portraiture et al), of schemas and symmetries.

Usually, it's just at this point when I do the very thing I'm critiquing. Watch, I'll bust into a rash of figuration any minute now.

Thanks for asking, Brent!


"Watch, I'll bust into a rash of figuration any minute now"
is very funny, and the rest -- great reply, and gee, you have definitely been thinking about that one, wow.

I'll leave it with this, "And because there is an extremely apprehensive visual impulse that underlies the documentarian one, I think of painting perhaps as a ronin... destined to roam the earth masterless".

I'm sure I'm going to use that (of course attributed).

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