portraits

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Art Craft

Colorful Quilts by Bisa Butler use African Fabrics to Form Nuanced Portraits

February 21, 2019

Laura Staugaitis

“Three Kings”, detail

Artist Bisa Butler draws from an array of vibrant patterned fabrics to create portraits of everyday people. She eschews representational colors, favoring layered jewel-toned hues to form the skin of her Black subjects, and often groups figures together into strong silhouettes.

“I have always been drawn to portraits,” Butler explains in a statement on her gallery’s website. “I was the little girl who would sit next to my grandmother and ask her to go through her old family photo albums. I was the one who wanted to hear the story behind every picture. This inquisitiveness has stayed with me to this day. I often start my pieces with a black and white photo and allow myself to tell the story.”

Butler studied fine art at Howard University. In a video interview by BRIC TV, the artist explains that she began using fabric in her paintings in college, and then converted to quilting as a way to continue her dedicated art practice while protecting her young daughter from toxic materials and fumes.

The artist was born in Orange, New Jersey, and now lives and works in Brooklyn, New York. She is represented by Claire Oliver Gallery. You can see more from Butler on Instagram. (via #WOMENSART)

“Three Kings” (2018), quilted and appliquéd cotton, wool and chiffon, 95 x 72 in / 241.3 x 182.9 cm

“The Mighty Gents” (2018), quilted and appliquéd cotton, wool and chiffon, 67 x 78 in / 170.2 x 198.1 cm

“The Mighty Gents”, detail

“The Mighty Gents”, detail

“Anaya with Oranges”

“The Safety Patrol” (2018), quilted and appliquéd cotton, wool and chiffon, 90 x 82 in / 228.6 x 208.3 cm

“The Safety Patrol”, detail

L: “The Unconquerable Lyric” R: “I Want To Smell The Flowers”

“Black Star Family, first class tickets to Liberia” (2018), cotton, silk chiffon, satin, silk and lace, 79 x 85 in / 200.7 x 215.9 cm

 

 



Art

Historical Paintings Get a Pixelated Update

February 15, 2019

Laura Staugaitis

Based on “Joséphine-Éléonore-Marie-Pauline de Galard de Brassac de Béarn, Princesse de Broglie” by Jean Auguste Dominique Ingres

Greek artist and art director Dimitris Ladopoulos (previously) continues to use the Houdini algorithm, referred to as treemapping, to interpret paintings from the art history canon. The program calculates the density of information in a user-provided image and then divides it based on selected parameters, creating a pixelated effect that forms distinct color tiles of varying heights. In a statement about the project, Ladopoulos draws a comparison between treemapping and the original painter’s use of varied brushstrokes to bring fine detail, color variation, and texture to select areas of the canvas. You can see more of Ladopoulos’s work on Behance and Instagram.

Based on “Mona Lisa” by Leonardo da Vinci

Based on “Portrait of a Young Man” by Titian

Based on “Vincent van Gogh” by John Peter Russell

Based on “Young Woman with a Water Pitcher” by Johannes Vermeer

 

 



Art

Swirling Abstract Portraits by Firelei Báez Explore Identity in Diasporic Societies

February 14, 2019

Laura Staugaitis

“Sans-Souci” (2015), acrylic and ink on linen, 108 x 74 inches (274.3 x 188 cm)

Using acrylic, gouache, ink, and graphite, artist Firelei Báez creates intricate portraits that blur the boundaries between abstraction, realism, and surrealism. Báez forms human figures with skin comprised of swirling bursts of color and pattern, while meticulously rendered strands of hair and piercing eyes anchor the vibrant abstracted shapes as people. In a statement on her website, the artist’s practice is described as “a convergence of interest in anthropology, science fiction, black female subjectivity and women’s work; her art explores the humor and fantasy involved in self-making within diasporic societies.”

Báez was born in the Dominican Republic and now lives and works in New York, where she earned undergraduate and graduate degrees from The Cooper Union’s School of Art and Hunter College, respectively. She was recently commissioned by New York’s Metro Transit Authority to create an elaborate mosaic mural. The colorful multi-part work is part of a station redesign in the Washington Heights neighborhood of Manhattan.

Báez has exhibited widely and her first solo show in the Netherlands is on view through May 12, 2019 at Witte de With Center for Contemporary Art in Rotterdam. You can keep up with her latest work and creative endeavors on Instagram.

“Memory Board Listening (June 7th)” (2015), acrylic and Sennelier ink on YUPO paper, 40 x 30 inches (101.6 x 76.2 cm)

Vessel of Genealogies” (2016, acrylic), graphite and ink on paper, 40.5 x 70 inches (102.9 x 177.8 cm)

“To See Beyond It And To Access the Places That We Know Lie Outside Its Walls” (2015), Gouache and ink on paper, 84.5 x 50 inches (213.4 x 127 cm)

L: “Wanderlust Demanding Recompense” (2016), acrylic and ink on paper, 93 x 52 inches (236.2 x 132.1 cm) / R: “Ciguapa Pantera” (2015), acrylic and ink on paper, 95 x 69 inches (241.3 x 165.1 cm)

“Becoming New (A Tignon For Mami Wata)” (2016), acrylic on canvas 48 x 34 inches (121.9 x 86.4 cm)

“Patterns Of Resistance”

Of Love Possessed (Lessons on Alterity For G.D. and F.G At A Local BSS)” (2016), acrylic on Yupo paper
71 x 56 inches (180.3 x 142.2 cm)

 

 



Photography

Intertwined and Contorted Figures Form Surreal New Portraits by Brooke DiDonato

February 14, 2019

Kate Sierzputowski

Brooklyn-based photographer Brooke DiDonato (previously) poses bodies in twisting forms, skewing the viewer’s perception of where one body ends and the next begins. DiDonato also combines subjects and scenes in surreal ways that question the division between human and nature, presenting limbs popping up from a field of sun-baked crops, or capturing a stream of bountiful flowers spilling generously out of an open spout.

The above image of two men’s intertwined bodies was inspired by a previous image DiDonato made for a shoe campaign that featured two separate subjects wearing the same pair of shoes. She wanted to revisit this concept while incorporating full bodies to play on the idea that “the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.”

A selection of DiDonato’s images from her series “As Usual” is included in The Fence, one of the largest traveling photography exhibitions in the world. Upcoming locations for the open-air experience are Boston, Denver, Houston, and Calgary, Canada. You can keep up-to-date with her portraits and other images by visiting her website or Instagram.

 

 



Animation Illustration

1,440 Portraits Emerge from a Single Ink Drawing in a New Animation by Jake Fried

February 9, 2019

Andrew LaSane

In an impressive feat of dedication and patience, artist Jake Fried (previously) spent seven months creating Brain Wave, a hand-drawn animation using only ink and white-out. Fried reworked the same black-and-white drawing 1,440 times, scanning each new iteration into Photoshop and sequencing the drawings to play at 24 frames per second. He then added an original music track that frantically connects the hundreds of drawings into one 60-second video.

Centered both literally and narratively around a single, ever-changing face, the short animation takes the viewer through a wide range of emotions, settings, and themes. Because every frame is a new work of art, the piece as a whole feels like snapshots from a dream that have been remembered, recreated, and reassembled.

Working without an outline or storyboard, Fried explained to Vimeo that each successive drawing dictated what would come next. “There is an inherent logic or rhythm that emerges as I make the work, I have developed an instinct or gut-feeling for when the next frame is ready to be scanned. I can get quite obsessive about the smallest shifts within a fraction of a second.”  The filmmakers’s work will be featured later this month at the Flat Earth Film Festival in Seyðisfjörður, Iceland from February 10-14, 2019 and in a group exhibition at Mills Gallery in Boston from February 23 through April 28, 2019. To see more of Fried’s work online, follow him on Instagram. (via Vimeo Staff Picks)

 

 

 



Art

Lavish Portraits of Missouri Citizens by Kehinde Wiley

February 6, 2019

Laura Staugaitis

“Madame Valmant”, 2018

Painter Kehinde Wiley is renowned for his large-scale portraits of Black subjects (perhaps most notably President Barack Obama). His most recent body of work is on view at the Saint Louis Art Museum, and draws inspiration from eight works of art in the museum’s collection, which are referenced in all but one of his paintings’ titles. Kehinde Wiley: Saint Louis is comprised of 11 portraits of people the artist met in 2017 on the city’s north side and in nearby Ferguson, the community where 18-year-old unarmed Black citizen Michael Brown was shot and killed by a white police officer in 2014.

“My job is to see things in an accurate context in a society where so often black people are reduced to simple stereotypes,” Wiley explained in an interview with the St. Louis American. “What I’m doing is slowing down and taking time to honor people from every little detail of their being.  From their nails to the type of jeans that they are wearing – or that sort of timidity or boldness of their character.” The resulting portraits are filled with Wiley’s signature jewel tones and elaborate pattern work that interacts with his subjects, both showcasing and enveloping each figure. As contemporary Black Americans in their own clothing strike the grand postures of white Europeans of centuries past, Wiley juxtaposes the traditions and tensions of race and representation in the art world.

Kehinde Wiley: Saint Louis is on view at the Saint Louis Art Museum (which is free and open to the public) in Saint Louis, Missouri until February 10, 2019. You can watch a video of the artist’s in-depth talk at the museum here. Wiley also shares his completed and in-progress works on Instagram. (via Hyperallergic)

“Jacob de Graeff”, 2018

“Three Girls in a Wood”, 2018

“Charles I”, 2018

“Mahogany Jones and Marcus Stokes”, 2018

 

 



Amazing Art

A Recursive Series of Paintings Inspired by One Woman’s Second-Ever Work of Art

February 1, 2019

Laura Staugaitis

Over the last two weeks, Redditors have been slowly but steadily breaking the internet’s space-time continuum with a series of recursive paintings. The fateful catalyst was posted on Reddit two weeks ago, with a photo of a woman (the Redditor’s mother) holding a painting of a bird, her second painting ever. The photo’s caption, “My mom painted this and said no one would like it. It’s her 2nd painting,” inspired another user to paint a painting of the woman holding her painting, captioned “I painted somebody’s mom,” and mayhem ensued from there.

Each successive painting includes a caption chronicling their location in the multi-branched series. The result is a fascinating chain of events that connects online and offline experiences, and has gotten more than a few some-time painters back at their brushes. You can follow the progress of this real-life meme via Nick Kapur on Twitter.

 

 

A Colossal

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