Tuesday, October 30, 2007

portraits of friends

I have recently done a series of portraits of friends. This was the first. Sally would spend her evening hours reading in bed, often reading an excerpt from one book and then going to another. The one in her hand is Dante.
After I had completed the second portrait Sally looked at them both and told me that they were all about light. When the third was finished I realized that this was true. In each there is a place that is defined by artificial light. This light makes the portrait possible but also delineates aspects of the person.
I hadn't thought about it that way while I was working--but seeing them all together I realized how the light sculpted out the space and the person's specific volume within it. The quality of the illumination embodied a sense of the person, as though each had sought out an environment that simulated their own aura.

This is Britt Nhi who I coach in aerial hoops (lyra). She was performing on the ice when she was six. Later it was dance and then it was the air. She has moved through many elements to be here, and lounging in the most narrow of habitats she is comfortable in that fine focus . It was that physicality that intrigued me.
Here the light is theatrical with its own shape that makes the aerialist's life visible (possible) for us. There is no ground or ceiling and one always hopes for the outfoxing of gravity:

Here it is sodium vapor, stoplights and melting headlights. The urban night is a map of greys, grits and reflections. This is a portrait of my friend Chris and he was standing out in front of my loft.
He's a guy who truly knows the street. His description of his arrival there goes like this:
"While rocketing along that ol' Highway of Life late one rainy evening, I swerved to avoid making the rather sudden and thoroughly forced acquaintance of a horseless conveyance bearing a modicum of success and recognition in the Grand Duchy ofMoyerville . The initial repercussions of this selfless act of automotive courtesy sent me careening down a metaphysical off-ramp that deposited me in this desolate twilight country..."

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