The Roving Eye: Aura & the Contemporary Portrait
"This exhibition explores the work of international contemporary artists fixated with portraiture. It considers: the sitter, the artist and, you, the viewer. It proposes to facilitate a fresh look at portraiture, to re-evaluate and reclaim it as a practice central to the artist rather than the amateur. In this context the artist is the only genuine author of authenticity. To glean an authentic essence or presence, each artist must liberate the genuine aura of the sitter: this elusive thing that possesses immense psychological and emotional octane. An effective portrait captures something essential that can only be seen and felt by the viewer in the presence of the likeness. If we value portraiture, we must nurture the form, reconsider its role within the context of contemporary art, re-presented it, and support its practitioners." www.ouartgallery.org/exhibitions/
It seems to me that the most notable aspect of both A Dozen Useless actions for grieving blondes #1 and Sleep is the inherent relatable features that each contain within itself. In Sleep, due to the video being line animation, it is not very relatable to the audience. However, its generality does afford it some ability for the reader to envision themselves as the subject. The other piece, however, is very striking in this regard. The photograph pictures the young woman in such disarray and so close up that it is very powerful to the viewer, even to a personal level. Dick Goody illuminates one reason for this, stating, “Portraits that meet our gaze possess a distinct advantage. They have already pre-empted us, because when we stare back at them their expression remains infinitely impervious. Winning them over is impossible” (Goody, The Roving Eye: Aura and the Contemporary Portrait, p.5). In addition to the sitter being so visually large and creating eye contact with the viewer, she also exhibits such powerful emotive forces within the viewer due to the extreme distress she appears to be under. This only lends more power to the photograph as it stares down the viewer with such dominating forces governing it. Sleep does lend itself some unique qualities in its demonstration of motion. The use of motion here captures not just a mere moment, like in a photograph, but an action, a process which we all can understand and grasp. This means rather than just a moment being on display, it render unto us a more 3-dimensional understanding of what is happening, creating its own sense of power. In these ways each work of art lends its own distinct qualities to the perceiver, conveying differing responses.
DVD, Edition 3/6
A Dozen Useless actions for grieving blondes #1 (2009)
C Type photograph
30.5 x 52.56 inches (77.5 x 133.5 cm)
Edition of 8