day three, phrenology
I’ve always loved profiles. I’ve been playing around with profiles a bit, lately. I’m fascinated by the Victorian tradition of profile silhouettes, or the Renaissance portrait. I’m fascinated by the size of people’s skulls, the ropy muscles that connect to their necks. If I lived at the end of the nineteenth century, I’m fairly certain that I would have had an office off of Trafalgar Square, making a living in London as a professional phrenologist.
In Florence, a few years ago, a friend of mine said that he hated profiles, they are so contrived. Okay, okay, I see his point- we don’t often strike silhouettes in the three dimensional world. But in two dimensions, I just love how the human face can be reduced to one calligraphic line, and the slightest micrometer of variation changes the personality altogether. It creates a sort of wistfulness that reassures me as a painter; it reassures me that line can say what words never could.