BETWEEN YOU AND ME
FOUR MODELS IN THE STUDIO
21 May to 2 July 2022
Since I began practising as an artist in the mid 1990s, I have worked with four long term models, all men. On reflection, each enabled and supported a different kind of artistic exploration; each has been a vehicle for processing different feelings. Common to all four experiences is a specific relational act of producing portraits: two bodies in a room, engaged in an encounter rooted in looking and being looked at.
These dialogical encounters are repeated and durational – each sitting lasting a few hours, once or twice a week and over many months or years. This is fundamentally different from any other kind of portrait making setting. The exchange of regards through which artist and sitter constitute each other allows for a type of immersive, intersubjective likeness to emerge that runs counter to the usual expectations pinned on portraiture that have to do with representations of status and idealism and with the subject’s desire to be recorded in a particular, usually positive, way. The formality of this type of affected self-fashioning conforms to social expectation and is steeped in historical conventions of gesture, posture and expression among others.
Presenting portraits of the four models who have come to my studio in succession from the beginning of my practice until the present, is an opportunity to reflect on the slow shifts in my work over many years. The temptation is to map these artistic shifts onto parallel shifts in myself; to link outer expressions with inner states, but artworks are seldom conscious illustrations of the moment, and it takes a long time to be able to look back.