#portraitNovember on Twitter, and I share a series of faceless portraits and ask what is a portrait? Does the face have to be included to produce a portrait of a person? Or can collections of objects present an aspect of likeness?
The objective was to achieve the likeness of a person, a sense not of what a person looks like but a sense of who the person is, using objects that form part of their everyday lives. As such it is also an exploration of metaphor as each object is a descriptive metaphor for an aspect of the individual’s life.
It is useful to consider four categories of metaphor:
Universal metaphor is in principle understandable by any other person, regardless of culture. These tend to be things that have clear, body related, functions.
Cultural metaphors make up the majority but require the audience is of the same culture, or has understanding of that culture, to communicate.
Sub-cultural often relates to specific skills related groups and interestingly can sometimes cross cultural boundaries.
Personal metaphors are those meanings we attach to objects on the basis of personal experience.
A true sense of a person, an informative likeness, is created by the selection of appropriate objects as metaphors. The effectiveness of the metaphor depends upon which category they are in, and the degree to which the audience are part of that category.
My personal view is that the face is like a product brand and only represents us in as much as it allows others to associate particular skills, qualities and attributes with that particular brand (face).
Inside looking out
I collect, make, do and see.
My face is not me.
My faceless portraits form part of:
Alternative Viewpoints, Towner Gallery, Eastbourne
Saturday 3 December at 4.00pm. Free.
Blue Monkey Network artists Cliff Crawford and Jan Turner respond to the `One Day Something Happens’ exhibition at the Towner Gallery, Eastbourne. The session will take place in the gallery space and offers a participatory experience in a fast-paced workshop exploring ideas and thoughts relating to the exhibition. What creates the likeness of a person in a portrait? Consider the objects that dress the image: faceless portraits.