It carries a perfectly equine elegance. The head of the rider, on the other hand, is weirdly expressionless, its face blacked out with lifeless markings.
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And again, the rider shown below has a very lifeless face. The strangely prominent eye is oversized and poorly rendered. The mouth is marked with a scribble; a mere indication that this is where the mouth should be. And finally, a couple of portraits that Nadia drew of Lorna Selfe. These pictures do contain more detail than the heads of the riders but they do not successfully capture a sense of a living person.
Nadia is evidently far more comfortable dealing with animal expressions rather than human ones.
And, to the extent that her drawings are the products of perception rather than conceptualisation, this would suggest that she is more adept at perceiving animal expressions than human expressions. Her drawings suggest that she was unable to recognise the humanity in other human beings.
This faceless, or de-faced world that Nadia inhabited must bear some comparison with the paintings of Francis Bacon. Through the s and into the 60s Bacon developed his unique portraiture style which involved some degree of morphing of the human head. This may involve a meshing of distinct planar perspectives or a blurring of the flesh surface but it always results in an unsettling depiction of human features that manages to conflate the familiar with the unfamiliar.
When Bacon himself discussed his artistic praxis with regards to this style of portraiture he insisted on the primacy of the purely aesthetic and formal processes. His conscious or at least his stated concern was with the problem of creating art in an age of photography. That is, he was trying to figure out how to move artistic imagery beyond a representational paradigm into something that would return an additional semantic charge to the image.
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By distorting and damaging the human face he was trying to bypass the automatic register of imagistic likeness and to create a fresh image that would retain something of the living charge of its subject. The cultural critic, John David Ebert, expands on this point:. They are, rather, masks that undo the codes connecting the figure to this or that pre-existent system of meaning, masks in which Bacon is unplugging the human figure from all such narrative systems whatsoever.
Bacon often spoke about the important role of chance in his painting process. He was keen to avoid too conscious a method of distorting and defiguring the human face, knowing full well that too much conscious intervention would necessarily encode the face back into some sort of pre-existing representational schema. He was performing a balancing act whereby he wanted to create a good likeness of his subject but at the same time to avoid a merely straightforward surface likeness.
Any opinions expressed are strictly my own. Art has played a vital role in human evolution and the development of human consciousness for over K years…and probably much longer. Bone record shows man has evolved but highly questionable that art has. The canopy of the deciduous trees kills the grasses. Eventually white pine and hemlock take root, grow, tower and overcome the deciduous trees…until the next fire. A fire has been raging on earth since the death of Cezanne, the last great evergreen. Global Operations Support. Study Abroad Programs.
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