bemusing musings of a bewildered brush-wielder

day three, phrenology

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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.

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