Face Making

Artist Gwenn Seemel’s bilingual blog about art, portraiture, free culture, and feminism.

Observation, beauty, imagination, and why

2017 . 05 . 29 - Comments / Commentaires (6)

- -—[version française]—- -

Making art and questioning America’s fixation on violence.

Empathetic Magic opens on June 10th at the MT Burton Gallery in New Jersey. I’m blogging about the series here.

violence and sex portraits

Gwenn Seemel
PG-13 (Clarissa and Thrash fitting in) and NC-17 (Clarissa and Thrash standing out)
acrylic on bird’s eye piqué
both 18 inches in diameter

The role of art, its purpose, and its definition are all things I talk a lot about on my blog because I worry that too many people don’t realize how vital art is. This post explains how art is one of life’s necessities, on par with water, food, and shelter.


detail of PG-13 (Clarissa and Thrash fitting in)

This article gets into how to make better art by understanding the difference between the subject of an artwork and its topic.


detail of PG-13 (Clarissa and Thrash fitting in)

And this video deconstructs how art can and should open up conversations.

- The link between beauty and death / Le lien entre la beauté et la mort
- Questioning your paradigms / Questionner vos paradigmes
- The best kind of artist / La meilleure sorte d’artiste

CATEGORIES: - English - Empathetic Magic - Feminism - Philosophy - Portraiture - Process images - Video -

Gwenn Seemel on Liberapay     Gwenn Seemel on Patreon

(6) Comments / Commentaires: Observation, beauty, imagination, and why

-- lee ozanne -- 2017 . 05 . 29 --

Thanks for bringing up this subject.  We live in a society that extols piety but exudes violence.  Consider the Garden of Eden which condemned the pure human form in nakedness as shameful and basically despised women—- from Hypathia to the Inquisition—- yet was obsessed with female nudity in religious painting—- such as the ‘Judgement of Paris’ and the pietas.  And add on to these contradictions the Crusades, the War of Roses and colonialism and the slaughter of non-europeans including Native Americans.
  It’s all a jumbled, tangled up mess.
  But at least you are bringing the subject up—- even if it’s in a ‘small’ area of peoples ‘private’ lives.
  In this area, have you read Susie Bright’s BIG SEX LITTLE DEATH?

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-- Linda Ursin -- 2017 . 05 . 29 --

Art is all kinds of things. About the violence problem, there’s also the denial.

If you quote the statistics that USA has the most school shootings in the world, some people try to make you wrong and try to find something that can be interpreted as the same in your country. Even if we haven’t had a single one.

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-- Cathy Hasty -- 2017 . 05 . 29 --

Thank you for your courage, conviction and vision. Prophetic art expands the way I think about the world and challenges my assumptions. I tend to do more of that in words.  My daughter is called in the direction you are exploring in this series.

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-- Gwenn -- 2017 . 05 . 29 --

@Lee: It is a mess! I haven’t read any of Susie Bright’s work and my local library doesn’t have that title, but it does have some anthologies she’s contributed to. I’ll check them out. Thank you for the recommendation!

@Linda: What else is art to you? And yes, I’ve noticed that Americans are good at denying this particular problem as well.

@Cathy: I find it very hard to do in words—or even get near it! I wish I could, because I love to escape into a whole new world of words in order to learn about my own. Maybe all artists wish they could “speak” in other media?

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-- Linda Ursin -- 2017 . 05 . 29 --

@Gwenn It is an expression, passion, love of course but also something that can help people heal, learn, explore new things. There’s more to it too but my brain isn’t working today :D

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-- Gwenn -- 2017 . 05 . 30 --

@Linda: Interesting! Yes. I think here I was focusing on what art expresses rather than why people make art, so that’s why healing and passion and other motivations for making art didn’t come to mind. But you’re right that those things can also be communicated through art!

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