I’ve been everything but present work-wise in the last month. Since Becca and I delivered Subjective to Bend at the beginning of April, I’ve barely had a moment to think of the show. I haven’t even seen how the series looks hung in the Pence Gallery.
The diptych featured on the publicity for the Bend show is the one depicting Becca’s husband, Andy.
The pair is one of my favorites from the series because to me it represents just how blind our blind collaboration was.
My concept for my half of the diptych was simple.
I wanted to fake intimacy with Andy.
I wanted to give viewers the impression that I knew him better than I actually did…
...and perhaps even fool them into thinking he was my partner.
This was part of the concept of the series. Would the audience be able to tell which subject belonged to which artist’s family simply by looking at the paintings? Would the familiarity be obvious in the portraits?
In order to pretend intimacy, I used a simple trick.
I painted Andy close up…
...because we don’t normally get right up in the faces of people we aren’t intimate with.
It was, in fact, the only path available to me since, when I painted him, I’d only met Andy briefly on a handful of occasions and once for an hour for our photo-session and interview.
This compositional choice also allowed me to put in a detail that I was keen on including in Andy’s portrait.
I was present in my portrait of my partner...
...and I wanted Becca to be present in my portrait of her partner.
This is, without a doubt, the smallest portrait I’ve ever painted…
...and it’s a detail that goes un-noticed by most people who see my painting of Andy.
I loved meeting Becca’s half of this diptcyh for the first time. With a straightforward gesture of intimacy, my collaborator called my painting’s bluff and made it perfectly clear whose partner Andy is!
To catch Subjective in Bend, visit Central Oregon Community College by 30 April. It’s open Monday through Friday between 9:00 AM and 4:00 PM.
Pence Gallery at the Pinckney Center
Central Oregon Community College
2600 NW College Way
Bend, OR 97701