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Thinking: Self-Portraits

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April 2019
These paintings are about someone thinking. When I’m looking at portraits, one of the questions that often springs into mind is: “I wonder what they’re thinking ?”

I’m trying to show how a face, or a head, can be so complex in conveying thoughts, either passive contemplation or active thinking. I like the idea that a self-portrait of a person can be like an insignificant speck in the ocean until perhaps, we become absorbed into sharing the sitters movements of thoughts and possibilities.

How does one show this idea of changing thoughts and movement in a painting, using abstract marks, rhythms and forms as much as figurative ones?

Nowadays, I think it’s difficult to avoid doing just another photographic or realistic self portrait. So how does one try making a response without it seeming too smart or technical ? To solve this, I like trying to include elements about the way the painting has been made, showing
some of the working out, giving clues about how the sitter has been observed or using something that subverts the idea that you’re looking at another polished, figurative painting. Looking at and using language from abstract paintings and the way marks, rhythms and forms can be expressed in a ‘non-decorative’ way is a good counter-move to disrupt things.


I think that a self portrait can draw the viewer in; to imagine what the sitter is thinking, doing or feeling in the painting. So the pictures in this series aren’t about a static gaze with minutiae under scrutiny, they’re more like shifting beings thinking, on the move.

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