© 2017 – 2018 | Oil on Canvas
Six Citizens began as a challenge to myself: could I create a large work of paintings that would hold together both as a group and on their own.
The canvases were prepared on 12 March 2017. I didn’t select the red, white, and blue preemptively; my initial thoughts were to use a warm and cool combination to create the illusion of a textural fabric. The abstraction appeared through creative play while a geometrical pattern is something that I usually use as a compositional armature. I love the quatrefoil because, as a binding motif, the form is both organic and architectural.
The barren white gesso ground is a nod to Cezanné.
While laying down the abstraction, the 2017 Presidential election was being advertised and sold. Having been fortunate to circumvent the globe, my mind couldn’t comprehend the provincial fear laid bare by a lack of critical thinking. My thoughts concentrated on the meaning of an ambitious piece; if I were to go through the trouble of making something at least I should aspire to contribute to our culture.
From the pool of portrait candidates, I selected six individuals who, I felt, embodied diverse life experience and aware worldly intelligence. Thinking about the execution, I wanted to focus more on form than color, balance over agreement, and personal identity over ignorant assumptions.
I didn’t want to construct a narrative and then populate it with characters. Rather, I wanted to focus on painting each individual and let the group create a story of their own.
The order of execution was: Olivier, Gustavo, Belinda, Rhea, Cleta, Shawn, and Belinda (again). A common measurement dictated the scale of the portrait: the distance from the third eye to the bottom of the nose. In all six, the measurement is the same; the individual proportions, then, dictated the rendered scale.