Portraits. Suddenly they’re the rage. Every art critic/blogger seems to be showcasing someone’s new portrait of a hip-hop celebrity, or a museum’s retrospective of a newly discovered, been around a long time, figurative painter. The National Gallery held a portrait competition last summer and these are the finalists. Not many loosely painted or expressionist works. Of course I live near the figurative capital of the world; Philadelphia.

Peter Schjeldahl was one of the jurors and while I don’t agree with all the choices, in this interview he has a thoughtful take on how to look at art: ‘I think the most sensitive, intelligent, cultivated, exciting people I know in their interest to art do not register on the public level. I mean, they’re not part of institutional structures. They wouldn’t be caught dead in it.’

and this gem: ‘the only education that matters in aesthetics is self-education.’


The following portraits are all from 1981-82 and are of friends, models – anyone who would sit long enough for me to paint them. Fond memories, gentler times.

Rosa in blue shirt. Oil on canvas, 35″x25″ 1982


Teddy. Oil on canvas, 17″x15″ 1981


Malcolm and Louise. Oil on canvas 30″x32″, 1982


Neill. Oil on canvas, 34″x27″ 1981


Bill. Oil on masonite, 28″x24″ 1982


Girl with yellow background. Oil on canvas 30″x25″ 1982


Rosa, nude. Oil on canvas, 37″x30″ 1982


Self portrait. Oil on masonite, 25″x24″ 1982

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2 Responses to Portraits

  1. Gina Webb says:

    Ahh, these bring back some memories. I love the ones of Neil, and of you. But the National Gallery portrait finalists strike me as grim. Check out this show from a few years back at Oglethorpe University here in GA – this is figurative painting – and portraits – done with a little more imagination, I think:

  2. Victoria says:

    Yeah, but still a bit glossy and overworked for my tastes. I was hoping to see some more expressive work – like Alice Neel, Frank Auerbach or even someone like Jenny Saville…. or this guy: http://www.somepaintings.net/2008/Alex2008.html

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