Portrait in Phase
Portrait in Phase features the work of four Los Angeles artists whose work explores the notion of time as it relates to portraiture. Through painting, photography, and video the viewer is encouraged to consider characteristics of time, such as its continuum, its passage, and the significance of its moments, as well as the role time plays in the creation of portraits. Deb Diehl’s video projections are “live” self-portraits that are visually reminiscent of the silhouette portraits popular in the nineteenth century. This fluid self-portraiture defies the traditional concept of the portrait as a fixed image, while modern media and technology vie for attention with the bygone era evoked by the silhouette archetype. Jane Gotts plays with portraiture and time in two ways in her work. Painting from live models, she purposefully folds the passage of time into her finished work by depicting the many environmental changes (lighting, positioning) inherent to the long sittings that a painted portrait requires. Her contemporary portraits also reference the tradition and style of Renaissance portraiture, which forces the viewer to consider “now” as they are simultaneously reminded of the “then” of fifteenth century Europe. Phung Huynh’s work speaks to good times and bad, times past and present. Her paintings on wood depict age-old iconography from the artistic traditions of Asia as they have been appropriated by the pop culture of the Western world. For some viewers these images may evoke the loss and sorrow that often accompanies cultural assimilation, while others may take comfort in the romanticized notions that have made these borrowed signs and symbols so popular in the West. Alexandra Wiesenfeld’s paintings are about both timelessness and the often highly charged “moment in time”. Her surreal landscapes convey a feeling of timelessness because they cannot be definitively placed geographically or historically. However, the figures that inhabit these landscapes live in the moment, as they appear to be poised at a precipice—a decision must be made, a giant leap taken—for these figures the time is “now”.