portraits

Posts tagged
with portraits



Photography

I'm Not a Look-Alike: Hundreds of Unrelated Doppelgängers Sit for François Brunelle's Uncanny Portraits

February 9, 2022

Grace Ebert

Do we all have a double? Montréal-based photographer François Brunelle has been intrigued by that question since he began his I’m Not a Look-Alike series back in 1999, which brings together two unrelated people who resemble each other so much that they could be twins. He’s uncovered hundreds of doppelgängers around the world since and taken minimal, black-and-white portraits of approximately 250 pairs in 32 cities.

Brunelle’s now-massive collection is a testament to the mysterious and strange phenomenon that’s captivated humans for centuries, which has roots in paranormal lore and continues to be the subject matter of a number of horror films and sci-fi series. The search for a “twin stranger” has also prompted entire online databases dedicated to finding look-alikes through facial recognition software.

It’s this enduring fascination that’s garnered Brunelle considerable attention for the now decades-long project, which has also sparked tangential endeavors focused on finding doubles exclusively in Colombia and Spain. At the core of the series, though, is the idea that people, no matter their background, are fundamentally tethered to each other. “The face is the ultimate communication tool that we have to establish and maintain relationships between us as human beings. No wonder we are drawn to the face,” Brunelle shares.

 

Focused on lighting and angle, the uncanny portraits are devoid of color to highlight facial structures rather than variances in hair and skin. The subjects are not exact doubles— “A very perfect pair of look-alikes would be boring,” Brunelle says—and it’s easy to identify their similarities and differences as they pose in such close proximity. He explains:

Of course, the look-alikes are not the same. They look-alike, not much more. But then, that’s what fascinates me. That someone, out in this world is looking at himself in the mirror and seeing more or less the same thing that I am seeing in my own mirror. Which brings us down to the question: Who am I exactly? Am I what I see in my reflection or something else that cannot be defined and is invisible to the eyes, even my own?

Brunelle is currently working on a book and companion exhibition for the project, and you can follow updates on that and see more from the I’m Not a Look-Alike series on his site and Instagram. (via Kottke)

 

 

 



Art

Minimal Strokes Applied with a Broom Form Jose Lerma’s Tactile Portraits

February 7, 2022

Grace Ebert

All images © Jose Lerma, shared with permission

To create his thick, abstract portraits, Chicago-based artist Jose Lerma trades his brush for hefty, commercial brooms that follow the lines of preliminary sketches. “The process of these paintings is laborious. I make my own paint and fabricate my supports. The material is heavy and unwieldy,” he tells Colossal. “It is done in one shot because it dries very fast, so there is a minimal margin for mistakes.”

Lerma’s impasto works shown here have evolved from his original series of Paint Portraits, which revealed the general outline of a figure without any distinctive details. Wide swaths trace the length of the subject’s hair or neck, leaving ridges around the perimeter and a solid gob of pigment at the end of each stroke. His forward-facing portraits tend to split the figure in half by using complementary shades of the same color to mirror each side of a face.

 

With a background in social sciences, history, and law, much of Lerma’s earlier pieces revolved around translating research into absurd, childlike installations and more immersive projects. “In recent works, maybe due to returning to my home in Puerto Rico and a much more relaxed non-academic setting, I have eliminated my reliance on history and research and now concentrate on just making portraits,” he shares. “It’s an approachable, tactile, and disarming aesthetic, but the absurdity remains perhaps in the excessive materiality.”

Now, Lerma “works in reverse” and begins with a specific image that he reduces to the most minimal markings. “It’s a large work painted in the manner of a small work, and I think that has the psychological effect of making the viewer feel small, more like a child,” he says.

Living and working between Puerto Rico and Chicago, where he teaches at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Lerma currently has paintings on view in a number of shows: he’s at Yusto/Giner in Málaga through March 24 and part of the traveling LatinXAmerican exhibition. In April, he’ll be showing with Nino Mier Gallery at Expo Chicago and in May at Galeria Diablo Rosso in Panama. Until then, see more of his works on Instagram.

 

 

 



Art

Hand-Dyed Paper Seeds Flow Through Sculptural Landscapes and Portraits by Ilhwa Kim

February 2, 2022

Grace Ebert

“Run” (2021), 132 x 164 x 13 centimeters. All images © Laam Yi, shared with permission

South Korean artist Ilhwa Kim describes her meditative sculptural works as analogous to living architecture, “a live plant or the tree in (an) urban or natural space.” Comprised of carefully placed components in parallel lines and dense fields, Kim’s pieces materialize through innumerable rolled paper seeds that form organic, abstract landscapes and portraits—read about the artist’s painstaking process for crafting the individual elements previously on Colossal.

In each work, Kim arranges an assortment of depths, colors, and textures: she tucks visible folds among more upright segments and installs thin, sweeping lines evocative of a single brushstroke through vast expanses of white. “When moving from painting to sculpture, I wanted to do everything I was able to use in painting; even brush strokes and all the wide color paints,” she tells Colossal. “But I’d like my works to have a far stronger life presence in the physical surroundings as a sculpture.”

Because the dimension of each seed varies, the fluctuating compositions shift in color and texture depending on the perspective of the viewer, animating the scenes with light and shadow. Kim frequently photographs her pieces on sidewalks and in public places, which she shares on Instagram, to present the lively works within similarly bustling environments, and you can see the sculptures in person this October at HOFA Gallery.

 

Seedsystem detail

“Spectrum 2” (2021), 119 x 93 x 13 centimeters

“The Face of Nature” (2021), 132 x 164 x 13 centimeters

“Forrest Keeper” (2021), 164 x 132 x 15 centimeters

“Choral Symphony” (2021), 192 x 224 x 13 centimeters

Detail of “Choral Symphony” (2021), 192 x 224 x 13 centimeters

“My Seed Your Town” (2021), 164 x 132 x 13 centimeters

“White Portrait” (2022), 119 x 93 x 12 centimeters

Seedsystem detail

 

 



Photography

Bold Photographs by Yannis Davy Guibinga Explore Identity Through Color, Texture, and Lavish Fashions

January 31, 2022

Grace Ebert

“The First Woman” (2020) featuring Evangeli Anteros. All images © Yannis Davy Guibinga, shared with permission

Following his striking examination of the color black, Gabonese photographer Yannis Davy Guibinga returns to the bright, textured compositions he’s known for. His portraits and wider editorial shots center on single figures dressed in lavish gowns and coated with shimmering face paint, considering how garments, makeup, pose, and facial expression all impact identity. “By letting each image tell a different story and illustrate a unique experience, point of view, and perspective… (he) creates a world of powerful, beautiful, and dignified Africans regardless of gender performance, class, or sexual orientation,” a statement says.

Guibinga primarily hovers beneath his subjects when photographing as a way to further bolster the emotional impact of each shot. He explains:

Regarding angles, I try to have different ones in a story in order to have different perspectives, but looking up at my subjects has become with time something that I do almost every time. It offers a way to see the subjects in a very grand and dignified way, and because I collaborate often with young fashion designers, I found that it is also a great way of showing off a garment while still telling a beautiful story with the composition.

Currently based in Montréal where he’s completing a master’s degree, Guibinga has four collections on view at Brick at Blue Star in San Antonio through February 3 and will show another at Galerie XII in Santa Monica opening on February 6. He’s also featured in the recently published book As We Rise: Photography from the Black Atlantic and has a few projects slated for the coming months, which you can follow on Instagram.

 

“Pigments” (2020) featuring Atlas Hapy. MUA by Amal Afoussi

“The First Woman” (2020) featuring Evangeli Anteros & Atlas Hapy

“LAGBAJA” (2021) featuring Béatrice

“Oma Ayiya” (2020) featuring Tracy Valentine. MUA by Amal Afoussi

“Multicolor” (2020) featuring Atlas Hapy

“Glowzi” (2017) featuring Glowzi

 

 



Art

Balloons, Plants, and Bubble Wrap Become Powerful Subversive Symbols in Alicia Brown's Portraits

January 31, 2022

Grace Ebert

“Love notes from my father in a foreign land when the apple trees blossom” (2021), oil on canvas, 48 x 36 inches. All photos by Daniel Perales Studio, © Alicia Brown, shared with permission

In her new body of work What About the Men?, Jamaica-born, Sarasota-based artist Alicia Brown extracts and reenvisions elements of traditional portraiture. She recasts objects of cultural and social status, like the elaborate gowns and thick ruffled collars worn by wealthy aristocrats throughout the 16th and 17th centuries, by instead rendering her subjects in casual clothing like shorts and rubber flipflops with colorful latex balloons, plants, and plastic bubble wrap coiled around their necks.

Contemporary and subversive, Brown’s oil paintings are rooted in history and a reinvented use of symbols interpreted as power, control, celebration, adaptation, and survival. She explains:

As an artist from the Caribbean, Jamaica, which was colonized by Europe, presently there is still that system of classism that has its origin during slavery and colonialism in Jamaica that the natives have to navigate in order to fit into society. I have referenced the collar as an object that is European and replaced it with objects such as spoons, cotton swaps, shells, balloons, bubble wrap, and recently elements of nature. These collars adorned the neck of the models who are regular people and who are constantly going through a performance of creating an identity to gain acceptance.

Derived from a photograph of a friend, family member, or neighbor, each intimate portrait is set against a lush backdrop of foliage or in domestic scenes with encroaching plant and animal life. “Through my work, I hope to convey to the viewer to look beyond their eyes and to see themselves as the person represented in the painting, to share their world, and to come to the awareness that we share so much in common, we are all connected as beings,” the artist shares.

If you’re in Rochester, you can see What About the Men? through March 6 at UUU Art Collective. Otherwise, visit Brown’s site and Instagram.

 

“The Duke of Portmore-dad’s legacy” (2022), 48 x 36 inches

“The queen’s coronation” (2020), oil on canvas, 48 x 36 inches

“Male bird of paradise” (2021), oil on canvas, 64 x 42 inches

“You look just like your father” (2021), oil on canvas

“There is a race of men who do not fit in” (2021), oil on canvas, 48 x 36 inches

“Portrait of lady Cameal from Alva” (2020), oil on canvas, 28 x 36 inches

 

 

 



Art

Dense Fields of Colored String Comprise Expressive Portraits by Artist Joshua Adokuru

January 26, 2022

Grace Ebert

All images © Joshua Adokuru, shared with permission

Blending sturdy metal with the soft warmth of wool, Joshua Adokuru winds vibrant fibers around precisely placed nails that anchor his expressive and abstract portraits. The Abuja-based artist always incorporates strings in shades of blue, which fill amorphous shapes highlighting the subject’s face or defining the checkered pattern of a sweater. It’s “a natural color, a color of the sky, a color of the sea,” he says, noting that he gravitates toward bold, fantastical hues for skin tones. “Blue has this feeling of peace, a feeling of serenity.”

Formally trained in computer science, Adokuru has been experimenting with different mediums since secondary school, but it wasn’t until spring of 2020 that he started working with thread. His pieces, which are often larger than life, begin with a photograph of a child or friend, which are then translated into a simple sketch on a wooden board. Adokuru accentuates the figure’s silhouette, facial features, and any motif on their clothing or in the backdrop with nails that are glued in place, sprayed with black paint, and finally covered in taught thread. Because the artist is most concerned with capturing his subjects’ exact expressions, he always completes the eyes last.

Adokuru will show some of his works in New York this fall, and you can glimpse his process on Instagram. (via Lustik)