I recently won an award in the NVAL National Painting Show for my painting Semblance. Since then I have been asked a number of times to talk about the concept behind the painting, and after many unprepared attempts to describe my feelings behind this painting I though I would write a formal Blog post about it to get my thoughts more cohesively organised.
The original concept for Semblance originated from wanting to see if I could convey a sense of emotion and generate the same empathy in the viewer that I would when painting a full frontal portrait. I also wanted to see if I could communicate emotions and personal characteristics of a specific person without showing their face, and to examine how we identify people and differentiate between the people we see, and the accuracy of our personal understanding of who the person really is.
Beyond the personal and emotional reasons for the painting I wanted to explore some formal structure ideas in regards to composition and color, I am very interested in opposing elements and opposites, the idea of one thing defining and enhancing another by how it is radically different. So on the one hand I worked on this painting as a formal endeavor to contrast the ridged structure of the checkered blanket and its heavy repetitive texturing with the chaotically organic and wild hair to see if I could marry the two opposing forms as a visual abstraction coming together. I wanted to use this stark contrast as a vehicle to draw people to examine the way they perceived the person in the painting, to experience the intimate closeness of the tactility of the blanket drawn comfortingly around the shoulders of the figure, but also be mentally held at bay by the obscured identity of the figure and the inability to divine what the figure is feeling or thinking, you are left to the look upon the figure and piece together your own semblance of who the person is and what they feel.
I am also very excited to announce that high quality artist Giclee prints of Semblance are now available in the prints section of the online store. Each print is signed and numbered and includes a personal message from the artist.