Making Faces is an exploration and reflection of human emotions. It currently consists of 26 (and growing) framed 10” X 8”, oil on canvas close-up portraits of people making faces. I decided to paint unusual portraits of people so that viewers could experience other peoples’ emotions. The show is a spoof on selfies, which is relevant at this time of instant, digital portraiture. However, no mobile app currently trending is as “hands-on” or traditional as the painted portrait which explores emotions in a labour intensified process. This exhibition is all about shedding our vanity, making fun of ourselves, and bringing out our silliness. It is uplifting to be motivated by humour and candour. There are many various styles of portraits available to view online. Very few depict the sitter “making a face” for the painter. Franz Xaver Messerschmidt, an 18th century sculptor, created “character heads” when art at that time was typically in the classical style and very serious. He was thought to be a little bit quirky by the general public and art critics. Grimaces, faces of excitement, alarm, distaste, surprise, etc., are all part of our individual characters, so why not express them in art? The portraits in this series are not exaggerated caricatures, but likenesses painted from photos I took of willing strangers, friends, and family. Sitters have controlled the images of themselves by making a particular face. The paintings do not mock the sitter, but tend to animate them. The reaction to this show has been everything from “disturbing” to “hysterically funny”. People often try to mimic the faces they see in the portraits. The show has activated a sense of community with a broad emotional response to my work.
I just purchased your painting from the FCA Artist's Choice Exhibition and wanted to drop you a quick note saying how much I love the painting of Marion and the entire series of "Making Faces".