This series examines issues related to memory by exploring its limitations and aestheticizing the instability inherent in portraiture. The work allows the viewer to enter the subconscious space between remembering and forgetting. The figures and faces, which have been distorted through a repetitive layering process, manipulate our sense of familiarity. The original image becomes fragmented through this process, a conceptual procedure that corresponds to the experience of forgetting the semblance of the face, the body, and the subject.
The process of arriving at the reference image alternates between analogue and digital techniques. The raw, unaltered source photo is physically manipulated through an additive layering process. Films, ointments, and various substances are applied to the surface of the photograph, each layer removing it one step further from its origin. The image is re-photographed constantly throughout the process as a means of collecting information. Once the analogue process is complete a series of digital transformations are applied in order to augment the distortion process. The image is then rendered through drawing in charcoal and charcoal powder using a painterly technique in larger than life scale. During the drawing process, a final transformation emerges as I adjust and reinterpret the reference image. The final image can only be realized through the activity of drawing, which creates a third representation that is neither real nor imagined. The medium of charcoal serves as a material analog for impermanence, fragility, and malleability.
Through distortion and fragmentation, the figures take on a monstrous form. The images are alluring but disturbing, familiar but grotesque. The familiarity of the face evokes comfort while simultaneously rousing a sense of distress. The images work together, creating a cinematic effect through a sequence of progressive distortions in which the viewer’s gaze shifts from large scale to small, between the figure and the fragment. The correlation creates a dilation effect, referring back to the process of distortion inherent in recollection. In this sense the work is an intermediary between a real and imagined space. The result is neither original nor fully invented, taking form as a realistic rendering of a fleeting moment. By challenging the boundaries between representation and abstraction, and questioning the relationship between fluctuation and constancy, the works become entangled and disordered, mirroring the viewer’s innate desire for clarity and their proclivity for drawing meaning out of partiality.