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portrait

Physogs

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.

Dodeles_Elise_physogs_1_18x24_oil_canvas_2016w

A trip to New York and my 2nd day of painting Hattie McDaniel

What a wonderful day I had yesterday in New York City visiting some great art exhibits. The Leon Golub show is sobering and I looked intently at the cut canvases and their placement on the wall. Duct tape can only go so far and affixing unstretched canvas to walls is no easy task. His paint looks like dried cement and this reinforces the often gruesome content. At the opposite end of the color spectrum is the work of Judith Bernstein. Her paintings are day-glo satires. Both artists’ works are similar for their angry disavowals of the status quo.

Today I worked on the Hattie McDaniel portrait trying to add more pure colors.

Hattie McDaniel (2nd day, detail) Hattie McDaniel (2nd day)

 

Inspired by an online movie class

I am taking an online course entitled Marriage and the Movies and it has me thinking about how characters that African Americans had to play in movies were almost exclusively supporting roles, both figuratively and literally as they often had to prop up white actors/actresses. Most famously Hattie McDaniel’s character performed this function for Vivien Leigh’s Scarlett in Gone with the Wind. I remember many in the audience hissing when they saw the slaves in a showing of the film in New York in the 1990’s.I like to think that this portrait just begun of McDaniel will hiss and more if anyone would challenge her.

Beginning Hattie McDaniel as body builder (detail) Sketch Hattie McDaniel as body builder