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Portraits beyond life and limb


                — photo by Russ Tkachuk

How would you react to seeing a painting of yourself in a public show?

This week, I had the opportunity to see how a half-dozen local artists portrayed the same person and each other in different acrylic portraits. It was bizarre to watch real-life people stand next to diverse images of themselves, large and small. Almost all of the finished paintings emerged after only five 20-minute sessions of posing, with some embellished by later touches.

The exhibition Ourselves and Others  opened this week at the Sunshine Coast Arts Centre, featuring the work of  Coast artists called the Life and Limb Painting Group. Their name evokes folks who favour dismemberment at great risk, but they’re truly harmless.

This group, which paints together at the Sunshine Coast Arts Centre in Sechelt, BC, has met regularly for at least three years, using nude models. When they grew tired of that, they decided to paint each other —  while posing  clothed, of course. The results are intriguing: angles, soft edges, and creative interpretations in close-ups and full-body renderings that reveal each artist’s characteristic style.

(I suggest they hold onto those paintings of nude models. I heard on CBC Radio this week that some eightyish artist in Great Britain has dug up a nude painting or drawing he did of Sean Connery when the actor was  a young student and posing for art classes for pay. Imagine what it’s worth now.)

Mudito Drope did the above portrait of me, which was featured in the show. You can see the portrait in its early stages below on my April 2010 post. I’m pleased with the final result.

Great show, everybody, with a remarkable turnout.

November 6, 2010 at 10:18 am
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