Portrait of a Woman

What image do you see in your mind when you hear the word “woman”? The definition of the word is simple: wom·an: [woom-uhn] noun 1. an adult female human being. However that word translated into a visual language is anything but simple. Semiotics, the study of language, is the foundation of my artistic exploration of this word. Portrait of a Woman is a body of work that examines the diversity of that word.

This work contrasts what is seen in the media: heavily photo-shopped pictures that create unrealistic images of women and distort the ideas of feminine beauty. Though my portraits are not literal representations of the individuals, authenticity is critical. But not the authenticity of physical features, instead they unveil the rare qualities that one cannot see with the naked eye. Van Gogh described this type of authenticity as not painting things as they are but as you feel them. He states, “My great longing is to learn to make those very incorrectnesses, those deviations, remodelings, changes in reality, so that they may become, yes, lies if you like – but truer than literal truth.” The materials, colors and styles that I incorporate in each of the portraits illustrate the physical and emotional connections I feel as I work. In this way the mark-making and materials add to the content of the image, transferring my impressions on to the visual depiction. Andrew Salgado is a contemporary artist from London who also strives to paint portraits that are “truer than literal truth”. Salgado describes his desire as “pulling the viewer from the sutures of the represented subject to invite understandings beyond the confines of the painted picture.” Portrait of a Woman invites the viewer to look deeper, to view the woman with a more intense intimacy than a photograph would allow.

The sweetness of an avocado that is underneath the hard wrinkled skin, is the essence of the fruit; likewise the spirit of a woman can only be found when one looks below the surface in search of the soul. Portrait of a Woman gives recognition to the infinite diversity of the adult female human being while it honors and celebrates the quintessential essence of a woman.

Woman #1 (Anastasia), acrylic paint on wood panel, 2014, 20” x 20”
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Woman #2 (Brittany), oil paint on wood panel, 2014, 20” x 20”

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Woman #3 (Ruby), oil paint on wood panel, 2014, 20” x 16”

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Woman #4 (Alejandra), acrylic paint on wood panel, 2014, 20” x 24”

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Woman #5 (Mariah), pumice gel & chalk pastels on wood panel, 2014, 20” x 16”

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Woman #6 (Yeon), digital print collage on wood panel, 2015, 20” x 16”

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Woman #7 (Darlene), paper & colored pencil on wood panel, 2014, 20” x 16”

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Woman #8 (Pamela), stain, pumice gel & oil pastels on wood panel, 2015, 20” x 24”

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Woman #9 (Christina), acrylic paint on wood panel, 2014, 20” x 20”

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Woman #10 (Miranda), collage & acrylic paint on wood panel, 2015, 20” x 16”

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Woman #11 (Laramie), paper, markers & acrylic paint on wood panel, 2014, 20” x 16”

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Woman #12 (Rebecca), gel medium transfers & oil paint on wood panel, 2015, 20” x 20”

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Woman #13 (Jean), collage & acrylic paint on wood panel, 2014, 20” x 20”

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Woman #14 (Viola), gel medium transfer, acrylic paint & chalk pastels on wood panel, 2014, 20” x 24”

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Woman #15 (Kristina), thumb-tacks & acrylic paint on wood panel, 2014, 20” x 20”

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Woman #16 (Angela), acrylic paint on wood panel, 2014, 20” x 20”

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