My portrait-practice is driven by an underlying fascination with the human person, their voices, their faces, their breath and their silent gaze. Indeed, the human face is a mysterious site, etched with a beauty and dignity that beckons portrayal.
My large-scale charcoal portraits combine the ideals of classical realism with the sensibilities of post-internet and post-photographic aesthetics. The monumental scaling of these faces, rendered manually by hand, exudes a sense of beguiling tactility and dexterity that fixes the viewer’s gaze. Unlike the multitude of faces constantly crowding our digital screens, I want to create portraits with a solidity that cannot simply be dismissed and ‘swiped’ away. The repetitive action of mark-making multiplied by the hours and days required to complete these works imbues the finished portrait with a heavy accumulation of the artist’s trace. The overabundant presence of the artist’s hand and the resulting ‘aura’ that this exudes serves as a substitute for the missing-presence of the absent sitter.
Whilst working primarily with analogue drawing media, I have recently begun investigating the relational and spatiotemporal dynamics that undergird the portrait-making process. This recent foray into durational and time-based methodologies has risen out of a desire to flesh-out those invisible transactions that pass between artist, sitter and the portrait-object.