The Mutated Model: Artist and Sitter in contemporary portraiture
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Initially, my study of portraiture concerned the notion that each Sitter 'performs' a coded (iconographic) role when confronted with the lens, brush or pen. My investigation sought to ground these works in an art historical analysis of the historiated portrait (portrait histori驠and decode the performances through exhaustive studio sessions and exaggeration in the work. Research into iconography and iconology, beginning with Peirce, Gombrich and Mitchell, began to reveal some essential misunderstandings that were evident in my practice. Rather than the conventionally dyadic interface between Artist and Sitter, there manifested a third agent, the result of both a performative mutation and a depictive mutation: the 'Model'. Theoretical study, specifically as it pertains to Gombrichian substitution and Mitchell's pictorial vitalism, was essential in the maturation of the studio practice. To focus the research on these metamorphic transactions between Artist, Sitter and Model, strategies of mimicry and dissimulation are employed, as is self-portraiture. The works are both covertly and overtly constructed portraits, consisting of photographs, digital video, painting, drawing, and intricate synthetic forms that combine media in fiberglass matrices. The fiberglass constructions are particularly pertinent to the investigation as they hybridize conventional and experimental forms, and traditional and contemporary technologies as literal and metaphoric embodiments of the portrait scheme.
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