“The countenance is the portrait of the soul, and the eyes mark its intentions.” – Marcus Tullius Cicero
As long as there has been art, there has been portraiture. Portraits were originally reserved only for those who were regarded as important – religious figures, royalty, and nobility – and were meant to be in the exact likeness of the sitter. For many of us, these are the types of paintings that come to mind when someone mentions portraits. However, there is so much more to this personalized style of art. Whether a photograph, painting, drawing, or sculpture and regardless of artistic style, a portrait is just as much about the inner psyche of the sitter as it is about their physical appearance. That is why in contemporary art, it does not matter if you recognize the face that you are seeing. Instead, it is about relating to the overall essence of the image – the emanating emotion and energy.
Each of these Agora Gallery artists have used portraiture to represent not only a specific face, but a culture, a concept, or an idea.
Sydnei SmithJordan, having overcome an abusive past, uses her experiences to drive her work and ideas. Although her earlier works explored abstract subjects, her more recent work explores the concept that “nothing is black or white.” She strives to “liberate one’s mind, self, and society” through pieces in her own genre that she named “Pop Fusion.” Her main influences include a range of social taboos which she boldly and intimately addresses through her paintings.
German artist Regina Krugel, strongly influenced by the idea that all things in life are intertwined, often adds layers to her art in order to represent the close relation between various ideas and points of view. Her technique connects primeval times with the present and allows her to examine humanity in its most rudimentary form. She also explores the complexity of the physical viewing distance; from afar, her pieces sometimes portray a different expression than when they are examined more closely.
A self-taught painter, Patricia Brintle’s art is meant to have a positive impact on her viewers. Her pieces focus mainly on faceless Haitian figures that work to “bridge the gap between the Haitian on the island and the Haitian Diaspora.” She prides herself on the simplicity of her pieces upon first glance and their ability to transform into more intricate, detailed, and complex pieces with closer examination.
For Venezuelan artist Viccas, the way to respectfully and accurately capture his muse is based around his implementation of pure colors, gestural strokes, and his ability to express the flow of life. He describes his process as spontaneous, conveying that his ideas transition easily from mind to brush. He has noted numerous illustrators as being fundamental to his artistic style, including Boris Vallejo, Bob Kane, and Rene Vincent.
As a student of not only art but also psychology, Turkish artist Nilo’s works expose a darker side of humanity. Her photo-realistic brushwork enables her to produce dramatic and unusual juxtapositions within her pieces. But while realistic in style, her works have a surrealistic flair, particularly obvious with her use of out-of-place objects and abstract designs in her portraiture, which gives her the ability to represent her subject’s individuality and also her own interpretation of their being and persona.
The classically trained artist Grace Dam focuses each of her works on the intimate details of her scene in order to create a complete narrative within each piece. Her inspiration comes from her own experiences or observations and bring to light unspoken emotions or moments. “Art is my life-long passion,” she says. It “is an intellectual property uniquely delivered as my mind tries to resolve certain issues.” Dam pursues art with passion and intent; her pieces convey paradoxical stories that encourage interpretation.
For more Portraits by Agora Gallery’s artists, please visit www.art-mine.com