portraits

24Jan14

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Friend and former student Hiroki Iwai surprised me toward the end of last year when he sent me a copy of this wonderful portrait he painted, which is — I think — based on this photograph.  He painted the portrait using an iPad, but unlike some iPad paintings that revel in technique and photo-realistic emulation, Hiroki’s painting ads some undefined quality to the original photograph that makes this image of me feel more like me than the original.

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I love Hiroki’s feel for paint.  It’s virtual paint, of course, but there’s a mind of oil at work here, an implicit understanding of the specificity of texture that has made oil painting such a central medium for over half a millennium.  These two self-portraits by Hiroki reveal the softness that oils can provide (the image above exhibits the quality that I like to think of as “milk light”) as well as the potential for a rough and rustic expressiveness that somehow channels a sense of the now, happening in place, brushstroke by brushstroke.

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