Photographer Ana Oliveira‘s Identities II is a touching series of portraits. She begins with old photographs of her subjects and through similar lighting, clothing, and poses she creates a parallel photograph. As much as sixty years lies between some of the older and newer portraits. The two portraits arranged side by side become a sort of existential before and after. I find myself imagining what took place in the decades between the two photographs, evidence of something in the now more pronounced lines in each sitters face. Its difficult not to envision expressions of expectation in the younger portraits, and mixtures of disappointment or content in their older counterparts.
Photographer Alma Haser has often incorporated origami into her work. However, in her series Cosmic Surgery the origami is brought to the forefront. For the Cosmic Surgery Haser photographs a series of portraits. She next makes multiple prints of the portraits and folds them into complex origami objects. The origami pieces are placed back into the portrait and a photograph is taken of the final composition. Haser mixes the meditative nature of origami and transposes it onto the face of her subject, somehow injecting simple portraits with an esoteric atmosphere.
Ana de Orbegoso‘s series of photographes, titled The Invisible Wall, is a way of visually depicting personal prejudices. The photographs are a series of portraits each obscured by a pair of hands, as if the subject were hiding their face. Underneath the hands, though, a face subtly appears. Obviously, the series’ title refers to a figurative wall, a social one. Of these ‘walls’ she says:
“Behind our individual walls we each keep hidden our prejudices, our preconceptions, our highest aspirations. Our individual walls serve to protect us by enabling us to always hold something back, an edge between what is hidden and what is revealed.”
The portraits of Marcus Cain fall somewhere between abstract and figurative. His faces appear to be in the process of solidifying, perhaps alluding to the identity they express.
Cain says, “I am currently interested in a particulate view of the human condition, acts of transformation, and shifting identities….My hope is to capture the figure in a transformative, in-between state.”
Cain also uses processes that allude to past styles such as pointillism and abstract expressionism. His nearly eerie portraits often dominated by prominent staring eyes, however, are reminiscent of pulp depictions of phantoms and apparitions.
Brendan Danielsson‘s portraits are wonderfully ugly. Though each piece incorporates the image of a sole person, there is plenty of conflict. The pieces easily explore ideas of beauty and ugliness; they are at once sensual and repulsive. While appearing almost alien each portrait is somehow still strangely familiar. Danielsson is able to portray each ‘character’ as clearly part of a larger hidden narrative.
If you can’t pull your eyes away from Brendan Danielsson’s work, make sure to check out the Beautiful/Decay Book: 9. The book features the paintings and drawings of Danielsson along with many other artists, designers, illustrators, and writers.
Something is not quite right with Nandan Ghiya‘s portraits. Indeed, several are titled Download Error. Ghiya’s antique portraits of upper class men and women from the past seem to be physical manifestations of garbled JPEG files. Each portrait is collaged and each frame carefully modified in a ways that resemble corrupted digital photographs. The now forgotten subjects of these portraits may have sought posterity through these images and the artist seems to communicate this in a familiar visual language of the digital. He uses life documented through JPEG’s, glitches, and error messages to reflect the modern plastic identity.
Hold on to your eyeballs, Matthew Zefeldt‘s paintings just might wipe them out. Matthew’s enormous paintings seem to use every possible color and it’s obvious that he doesn’t just “like color”– he loves it, and is really good at it. Using color to give control thick, abstract figures form and depth, and flattening his pedestals, Zefeldt’s paintings are a new and wonderful take on impasto abstraction, so thick that some of them look more like a gum wall than a painting. His work is also great because he uses his goopy application to show what portrait paintings really are–paint! But instead of taking a cynical approach to the problem–”oh no, how could we be attaching so much significance and power to these things that are really just a bunch of paint”–his view seems more enthusiastic, as if to say, “yes, this is a bunch of paint–that’s why they’re the best!” I can’t wait to see more. If you want to see some in person, he has a piece hanging until the 10th in a FFDG Gallery group show The Diamond Sea along with curiot and lots of other young up and comers. If you’re not in the bay area, you can see more of his work after the jump.
Michelle MacKinnon‘s photorealistic portraits use the human face to investigate secrets and their relation to the idea of public/private. The artist explains:
“The series is a combination of a list of exposed secrets, and with no direct link to them, portraits of the sitters expressing their emotions/reactions to their listed secret. Provoked by the idea of confession, this series will explore the public/private relation of people and the exposition of their secrets. By anonymously submitting secrets to the artist and later posing for a portrait depicting their secret, this series strikes an interesting note of juxtaposition between the public and private sphere of secrecy. Publically, these secrets, and therefore their keepers, have been indirectly exposed. Out of instinctive human nature, curiosity drives the viewer to either intuitively match the portrait to their secret, or become empathetic to the portrait deriving from relation to their own secrets. Privately, the confession becomes an outlet for the sitter; a chance to formally acknowledge and confront their secret, yet knowing that, though it may be assumed, no one but themselves will be entirely accurate as to which secret is theirs. It becomes a veiled breach of the private into the public and a connection without fact; after all, we all have secrets.” – Michelle Mackinnon