The portraits below are from my Studies of Spirit series. This series consists of over 25 larger-than-life ink wash portraits on paper, representing a global span of ethnicities. Studies of Spirit questions where differences and ordinariness are subdued by individual countenance. By using uniform square formats (each head is two feet square), the same black and white treatment, and the absence of background I highlight uniqueness and equality. As I work on each piece, I am drawn in by the nuances of each face, engrossed by a certain chin indentation, the hollow of an ear canal, the way an almost imperceptible shift of an eyelid or shadow on a lip can transform the expression. To create these portraits, I paint on paper using India ink applied with long-haired Chinese brushes using layered washes giving the pieces an especially soft finish, like skin itself.
Wellspring, Anonymous 22
In the Quiet, Anonymous 11
Reverence, Anonymous #18
Keeping the Vision
Inherent in the Gaze (In the Grey series)
From the Borderlands (In the Grey series)
In Prayer, Anonymous #16
The Volunteer, Anonymous #12
Holding the Vision, Anonymous #17
Listening, Anonymous #7
Coming Home, Anonymous #14
Open Heart, Anonymous #13 SOLD
Keeper of All the Secrets
Study for At Peace, Anonymous #5
Moment Awake, Anonymous #10
Finding Truth, Anonymous #4
In the Light, In the Grace, Anonymous #8
PORTRAIT COMMISSIONS WELCOME
To see additional images from this series, contact the artist.
Barbara Stout email: email@example.com Phone: 360-320-1116 Sebastopol California USA
Four portraits were selected for the group show:
What Does Compassion Look Like?
April 11 - May 30, 2008, 512 First Street South, Seattle, WA This show was a fundraiser for Seeds of Compassion and celebrated His Holiness the Dalai Lama's visit to Seattle in April
In the Grey
Gender-full, not genderless, imagine a face not defined by gender but by its spirit alone, a multiplicity of expression without the confines or constrictions based on our society's prejudices of a person's sex. These portraits are part of the series In the Grey, of androgynous portraits where I construct ambiguous gender attributes of each face while expressing the essence in each visage.
With Peace (In the Grey series)
Shift (In the Grey Series)
Identity Tides Triptych
Identity Tides Triptych Ink wash and watercolor on handmade paper 40 inches high by 72 inches wide
This ink wash triptych is part of the Identity Tides collaborative video installation with Jane Winslow (www.janewinslow.com). The paper portraits work in tandem with Winslow's inspiring video projection. Each portrait explores ambiguous gender attributes of each face. I think of them as "gender-full" as opposed to genderless, a multiplicity of expression without confines or constrictions based on our society's prejudices of a person's sex. Realism is particularly important in these paintings since the clear definition of the features takes the guesswork concerning their sex away from the image and leaves it with the viewer, opening the arena of the codification of gender.
The Identity Tides portraits are made on a rough and idiosyncratic handmade paper that has been ripped and pieced together, giving an overall rough-hewn tactitle quality to the surface. This contrasts with the video image integrated with them. To create these portraits I use a medthod derived from both watercolor technique andAsian-style brush painting practice. I use India ink applied with watercolor brushes and long-haired Chinese brushes, using layered washes giving the pieces a soft but leathery finish that reminds me of skin and breath itself. To create these invented faces, I use multiple photographs for each portrait as refernce, although all of the source photographs were of people looking distictly male or female. As I work on each piece, I am droawn in by the nuances of each face, engrossed by a certain chin indentation, the hollow of an ear canal, the way an almost imperceptible shift of an eyelid or shadow on a lip can transform the expression. I find a region where differences and ordinar- iness are subdued by individual countenance, and a place to not only allow but celebrate the human spirit beyond gender roles.