Title

Wilmer

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Creation Date

2012

Description

Materials: Oil on Canvas

Dimensions: 30" x 48"

Project Advisor: Benjamin Rinehart

Year of Graduation: 2012

Medium

Painting

Artist Statement

I’m interested in the process of portrait painting, in having someone sit and do nothing but make eye contact for an extended period of time. Each day, we look people in the eye, with more or less ease; we sit, but most often in conjunction with some other activity. In these portraits, looking is most important—I look and record, the sitter looks and tries to find stillness. This sometimes brings awkwardness, peculiar fidgetiness, or discomfort, even though the situation sounds extremely simple. The unfinished nature of these paintings reflects starkness, simplicity, irrelevance of place, and the feeling of nakedness or exposure that occurs after looking at someone for a long time. Portrait painting is an intimate exercise. With intimacy comes vulnerability, this feeling of exposure, on both sides. Marina Abramovic said, “[The space in between] is where our mind is the most open. We are alert, we are sensitive, and destiny can happen. We do not have any barriers and we are vulnerable. Vulnerability is important. It means we are completely alive…” There’s something in the vulnerability of contact that I find has a particular aesthetic appeal. During each sitting, I want to create an environment of awareness and perception; I want the sitters to accept their position of motionlessness and direct contact, and my hope is that this focus and surrender leaves a recognizable mark on each painting. Each brushstroke is a gauge of my attention and perception; there is generosity in each moment the sitter sits. We make one another accountable.

Rights

Copyright for this work is held by the artist.

Keywords

portraits, performance art, eye contact

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