Portrait is both literally and conceptually skin deep. The minimalist sensibility of the series expunges all of the traditional waypoints of a portrait: artistic manipulation, personality, environment and narrative. All we see is the trace of a person’s life, a vulnerability that’s written on that sensual surface which we present to the world.
When Jackson Pollock took his canvas off the wall he made a seemingly minor change that completely transformed his process and result. With similar intent I have broken the portrait into dozens of discrete photos, splintering the frame and replacing relational composition with composition by repetition. The decisive moment of traditional portraiture is supplanted by visual persistence.
Each portrait is displayed as dozens of individually mounted photos, not a monolithic print; the grid pattern is formed by the empty space between each skin “cell”. Viewing the work is an intimate experience; the detail in each individual cell is only apparent when you're inches away.
These images constitute the anonymous physicality we present to the world. They revisit the Warholian question of to what extent the real person is hidden beneath the surface versus being entirely surface.
Sparky Campanella is a New York based self-taught artist. He has had solo exhibitions at David Weinberg Gallery in Chicago and the Koelsch Gallery in Houston. He has shown his work in group exhibitions nationally including Umbrella Arts, NYC; The Print Center, Philadelphia; Texas Photographic Arts, San Antonio; SF Camerawork, San Francisco; Gallery 825, Los Angeles; and Irvine Fine Arts Center. In 2005 he received a residency at the School of Visual Arts. Campanella has been an instructor at the Harvey Milk Institute in San Francisco in 2003 and at Prescott College in Arizona from 2002-2003. Sparky holds an undergraduate degree from Duke University and a graduate degree from Stanford University. www.campanella.com