Thursday, February 15, 2007

Self Portraits - wip

With only five weeks till I fly out to Melbourne for my first meeting with my masters supervisor in over a year and a half, I am trying to do as many tests for different artworks as I can. Working in isolation here in Brisbane means that I don't get to show my works-in-progress to anyone and get feedback. I have suddenly realised what a loss this is. I am hoping that readers of this blog might step in and give me some feedback. I would really appreciate it if you could comment or drop me a line if you have an opinion on some work that I put up here over the next little while. I am definitely open to criticism - so if you don't think something is working, please tell me. Conversely, I will obviously be thrilled if you think something works well.

I have started on a piece which I conceived of as a diptych of self portraits. One portrait will be embedded in wax and the other will be a projection onto drying clay. They are both life size head shots and the idea is to contrast the two. In the clay piece, the clay is drying, undergoing a process and together with the projection is trying to communicate transience in life. The wax piece sits in opposition to this - an attempt at preservation.

I am still deciding whether to use a naturalistic portrait or something else - the black and white transfer above, a figurative outline, or even just a circle. Each says something slightly different and I am wondering which might be most powerful. I always tend to lean towards the less specific, but something tells me the face embedded in wax is quite powerful and somewhat alarming. I will be posting some alternatives in the next day or so.

These are four photoshop mock-ups of the face with the drying clay. I think no. 4 is a lot stronger than any of the others, but I am keen for feedback on this too.


  1. Amanda, I find the four portraits together to be a very strong statement about feeling. I looked before I read and I thought that the person depicted was sad, discouraged, and tired. Then I read the words. I wouldn't try to separate the four because I think they tell a story about the changes you experience with some brighter days and others that are not good at all. I find this very much more powerful than the works at the top of the post.

    Those I found slightly puzzling as I tried to determine whether the technique was purposely masking the subject, whether or not the works were in progress and not finished, or what you were attempting to convey. Then of course, I read what you'd written and understood better.

    In all, I think the four portraits that are all together convey a much more powerful story.

    Hope that helps.

  2. The face in wax is alarming, it definitely spoke to me of embalming, a process used to preserve a dead body

    When I was a magazine editor the designers believed faces were the best covers - I used to like creating artistic interpetations of things, but faces do attract the human eye

    the drying clay face is a brilliant concept - the exact opposite of the preserving wax

  3. Hi Amanda,

    Of the wax pieces I like the second one. I like the base photo in color and the evenly applied wax keeps my attention on the face rather than the texture of the wax.

    Of the clay portraits, I too like the strength and starkness of the fourth one. But it depends on what you want to say. The fourth one, in obliterating the facial features, speaks to me of death while the other 3 could be construed as being about a slower process of decay, or loss.

    Interesting to contemplate the sub-theme here of water/moisture. Wax holds in moisture, the clay loses moisture.