Once again, my very part time job as a cataloger in the Rare Books & Special Collections Department at Princeton University has supplied me with wonderful source material for painting. This time, instead of fighters’ portraits, I found a board game named ‘Physogs‘. The game pieces contain faces devoid of features. The features are contained in separately numbered strips. Much of my work grapples with gender identity and one way I am using this game is to create faces that are gender neutral. But other ambivalences will be imagined as well. In these works, I wish to subvert the game’s intent that conclusions about character can be based on facial characteristics. By placing features on these faces in unexpected combinations, I wish to undermine the notion that people can be known through physiognomy. We are far more, and much more mysterious.
I cried when I saw this kiss in the movie Mrs. Miniver. The people in the painting are Greer Garson, as Mrs. Miniver, and her daughter-in-law in the movie, played by Teresa Wright. The moment was so tender and beautiful, and it displayed a version of a mother-in-law that goes against the image most often characterized in our misogynistic popular imagination.
These look best together. I photographed images from movies and media, and manipulated them in Photoshop. Then I created paintings from the changed images. I have an idea that our perceptions are false, and therefore when we look at people we see our false images of them. Movies, photographs and stories in the media all serve to cloud or blur our vision. Hence the blurriness of some of these, as well as the soft focus in others.
I have gotten tired of presenting myself to others. So I decided to just be real-for me, not for anyone else. In a world where we are watching ourselves 24/7 and almost never allowed to be anything but restrained and polished because who knows who may be looking, I have embarked on a series of paintings I call “Sloppy Selfies”. And I have included two other paintings as well, containing images that have pestered me for awhile.