It is almost difficult to believe that these self-portraits by Spanish Eloy Morales are oil paintings. His oil painting are generally executed on large panels such as the one above. Morales carefully blends colors and layers to flawlessly recreate his portraits. He nearly seems to consider each painting a separate test of his abilities. Morales is known to write notes prior to a painting of goals to meet that he felt weren’t met on a previous work. However, there is more to his work then a simple recreation of a photorgaph. Morales explains in Poets and Artists Magazine:
“I am interested in working on reality through the use of pictorial codes, previously understanding that it is a false relation and I always keep in mind that painting is an independent expression. Finding a meeting point that truly represents my vision keeps me going on painting.” [via ignant]
“Over the last decade, Nina Surel has been developing a unique series of mixed media portrait-landscapes that offers a vivid portrayal of what it means to be a modern woman, in a way that is witty, provocative and honest. Ironically enough, she uses the visual language of early feminist literature and the aesthetics of 19th Century Romanticism to make statements about repressed desires, complicated lives, and the interactions of women with their own selves and their surroundings, that are absolutely modern and of-our-time. They are scenes that can only happen deep in the understory of the most primeval of forests, under cover of the bountiful canopy, and they have their genesis even further below, where the oldest roots of these trees are.
Surel employs a wide range of media, such as photography, painting, collage and assemblage. The conceptual underpinnings of the work are in Surel’s own childhood stories, fairytales, and romantic literature.” – from the artist’s website
The paintings of Korean artist KwangHo Shin are most certainly portraits. Though they depart from many of the elements of typical portraits they’re instantly recognizable as such. Shin uses charcoal to build the underlying structure – parts resembling hair, neck, shoulders, and ears. The faces aren’t so much painted as formed by gobs of oi paint. Hints of facial features such as eyes and noses may be ambiguously implied in each piece. However, its really the inner person Shin is after, the echoes of which linger for a moment on the face.
Romanian artist Mircea Popescu‘s series Head Stock unravels the typical portrait. These obsessively detailed pieces are linocut prints – the image etched, inked, and impressed on paper. Portraits often become stand-in’s for the sitter they identify. Instead, Popescu’s faces float independent of bodies and clear facial features. The images seem to be piled with countless layers hinting at a physical face and pointing to something deeper behind it. The complexities of the Popescu’s faces reflect the intricacy of identities behind portraits.
Strainers are tools not often seen outside of the kitchen, much less in the art studio. However, artist Isaac Cordal puts them to use in a series of street installations titled Cement Bleak. For the series Cordal sculpts human faces into the mesh of the hand held strainers. The strainers are then inserted into the ground. Sunlight or streetlights pass through the strainers and project a shadow portrait onto the sidewalk. The nature of strainer’s mesh allows for a strangely realistic face from several angles of light.
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.”