Political Portraits

Like Goya and Golub, I am interested in examining the faces and the views of our political leaders.   These images do not signify static moments, nor are they meant to do so.  They are intertemporal narratives that we all draw up on some issue, some personality or another; that life lost, that war, waged and won.

Do we overestimate our leaders’ foresight on things political and immediate? And if so, how do we do that?

Do we underestimate their strength and their presence?  And if so, how?  Barack Obama is president; racial injustice tumbles on.

A portrait of Napoleon is not necessarily only a likeness of Napoleon, though it also that. It is also, and perhaps is principally, a metaphor of  royalty, imperial power stretching from the church into the bedroom.   A triptych by Van Dyck of Charles I, the Second Stuart king of England, put to death by parliament is a wonderful work that when first presented to an audience must have shocked and worried those who viewed it.  For there stands one man who is father, son and holy ghost.  How do we pull apart all those differences, that space between intention and received value?

My work on political portraits tries to ply the structure of those narratives. They are, as it were, pictured analogues to Danto’s “narrative sentences.”

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