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Three portraits submerged under cobalt, 2019

Triptych, acrylic on canvas,

25.5 x 77 cm


How much obliteration does it take before you can be seen? These self-portraits are painted in a highly illusionistic style, not from life but mediated through photographs to create what might be termed ‘realistic’ or almost ‘photographic’ portraits. Then they are painted over with layer upon layer of sheer but ultimately obscuring colour until they are almost subsumed by it. But still the features are recognisable, still there is no escape from the border of the skin, the features that inevitably provoke assumptions about identity, or the flat painted 2D surface that superficially mimics but doesn't necessarily show the real. How can we see each other clearly through our cultural cocoons? Here the viewer is invited not to see the sitter, but to consider how we might be deceived by surface; how perhaps surface might be a deception that can be pierced through the act of obscuring.

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