Eliot-Lyman Room Longfellow Hall Harvard Graduate School of Education Appian Way Cambridge MA USA
Dean Jerome Murphy Portrait Statement
The balance that I sought in portraying Jerry Murphy was between the following somewhat divergent characteristics that I have observed about him.
Jerry Murphy is a man of action who is dignified while possessing a sweetness, great determination and stamina. Observing him over time one sees a person who connects with each individual while thinking about how to include that person in a group effort.
From an artistic point of view I wanted to move some of what has gone before in portraiture. In this case it meant that rather than representing the individual as a likeness surrounded by the trappings of his or her office, I endeavored to set up a psychological tension in the image that reflects divergent qualities I mentioned at the start.
How to achieve these goals:
As in all my portraits, technically I set up a tension on the two dimensional picture plane through he use of color and arrangement of the image in the rectangle.
The grey background and the crowding of the image on the rectangle allow Murphy to stand in his own human space. The warmth of the grey creates perspective because of the coolness in the color of the black suit.
The subject connects with the viewer by making eye contact and gesturing as if at the end of a phrase.
The danger of the hands distracting from the face is dealt with by the use of color in the tie shirt and suit. The complicated design of the tie competes with the hands to visually hold their potential distraction down.
Discovering the Artist's Behind the Portraits of The Deans
(available via a Digimarc link in The Eliot Lyman Room Longfellow Hall, online https://www.gse.harvard.edu/sites/default/files//about/images/HGSE-deans-book.pdf and
in the Harvard Graduate School of Education Library
While re-hanging the existing portraits in the Eliot-Lyman Room the artist discovered that while there were names and dates displayed next to the paintings there was no information about the contribution of the Dean nor statements about the artists, many of whom had been signed on the back of their image. After finding interesting information about the artists via the internet she contacted the Guttman Library to ask that they join in this project. Because the artist is also on the Arts In Education Advisory Council she felt having this information available to students and visitors was particularly important. She is grateful to all the work that went into this informative book.
The balance that I sought in portraying Alice Wolf was similar to the somewhat divergent characteristics that I observed about Harvard Dean Jerome T. Murphy.
Alice Wolf is a women politician and community activist who is courageous, dignified and determined while possessing empathy for those less fortunate, especially children.
She wanted to be portrayed as a woman of action, not a woman at her desk, sitting on a couch, or standing still posed for the camera.
From an artistic point of view I wanted to move away from some of what has gone before in portraiture. In this case it means that rather than representing the individual as a likeness surrounded by the trappings of her office, I endeavored to set up a psychological tension in the image that reflects divergent qualities I mentioned at the start.
Achieving the Goals
As in all my portraits, technically I set up a tension on the two dimensional picture plane through the use of color and arrangement of the image in the rectangle. While it is the only horizontal portrait in the City Hall Chambers. it is the same square inches as the others
The grey background and the crowding of the image on the rectangle allow Wolf to stand in her own human space. The warmth of the grey creates perspective because of the coolness in the color of the black suit.
Unlike some of the other portraiture in the room, these colors are not intended to match the beige and red wall paper but rather to allow the image to stand alone.The subject connects with the viewer by making eye contact and gesturing as she often did at the end of a phrase.
The danger of the hands visually distracting from the face is dealt with by the use of color in the scarf. The design and folds of the scarf serve to keep them from dominating the portrait.
"Looking At Men" 2000 Artist's Statement
Same Questions Two Decades Later 2020
"Looking At Men"
It is okay for men to stare at women. It is not okay for women to stare at men. Psychology tells us this double standard occurs because there are men who are subject to fetishes or more simply because they feel they have the right to stare. In art men often represent women as objects. Some women artists have broken into that system. Given the history and complexity of male/female relationships it is not surprising that there are women artists who respond to their experiences by softening, politicizing, or castrating the male image. These reactions were perhaps no better presented than in the 1980 London I.C.A. show "Women's Images of Men" and the resulting collection of essays edited by Kent and Morreau in 1985.
As a feminist living in a world still without equality I have to ask myself, What are the conditions that make it possible to admire the beauty, prowess and sensitivity of certain men? Is it realistic to believe that in artistic representation there is an alternative to idolizing, bashing, or infantilizing men?
For ten years I used the images found in baseball, basketball, and football to record my reaction to the beauty and timelessness of athletic games. I believe that athletic competition in the United States has become the symbolic equivalent of war. Visually the catchers' protective equipment in baseball, the helmets in football, and the physical height of the players in basketball recall the warriors, gladiators, and Vikings of years gone by, uniting the past with the present.
I tried to place images in a time that is ambiguous, asking the viewer to imagine what will or has happened. I intend to paint facial expressions that evoke a response from the viewer that comes from both what is present in the image and what the image says to the viewer. My attempt to set up tension on the picture plane I owe to Tissot, Manet, Renoir, Pollock, and the art of photography.
I was taught and continue to learn from two distinctly different artists, James Wilson Rayen and Richard Yarde. Technically I remain challenged by the color white. The white of the uniforms of baseball, basketball, and football players readily lends itself to my fascination with its innate qualities. To represent light I use both traditional and modern techniques, either by brushing on layers of under-painting or applying pigment directly on the canvas with a palette knife. I am a colorist at heart, using color to create both psychological and geometrical depth. Delacroix, Goya, and Matisse are among my influences.
Taking then from both the representational and abstract schools of painting, I attempting to set up artistic problems that combine images and painting techniques from the past with the present, that define space through unexpected uses of color and line, that generate for the viewer a sense of subtle psychological ambiguity and timelessness, and that comment on our human interactions.
I mean to paint the individual male as possessor of masculinity but also as possessor of a unique personality vulnerable to all of life's demands. I want to look at men not as objects nor still lifes as did Manet, but at their human connection the way Mary Cassett looked at women and children.
April 6-27 2018 NYC
This work was selected from the Cambridge Arts Open Studios Artist Registry on SlideRoom by one of their Creative Marketplace Exhibitions program partners,
Workbar, Inc., on Prospect St. Central Square Cambridge, MA, who sought to have works of local artists on display in their Cambridge offices for one year.
These Three pieces from "The Looking For A Silver Lining Series" are part of that exhibit.
WorkBar is not a public space. To visit check their hours
Call the office should you wish to visit the exhibit 339-293-4244
17 x 33" Oil/wax on Cotton Duck
Frame: Rolled Edge Grey Ash
Private Collection D.C.
This painting was inspired by baseball’s Commissioner Bart Giamatti’s belief that baseball can be seen as a metaphor for life...........In particular, literally “coming home” as a goal, not just for ball players, but for most individuals in the game of life.
“Home On A Double” belongs to a series using techniques from the French Impressionist School combined with some more traditional modeling of the figure. I have attempted to capture in oil the experience of the soft summer air the artist associates with baseball while portraying certain moments in the game.
In this piece there is a collision between light, dust and bodies at home plate. Technically this tension is set up on the picture plane using warm and cool colors applied by means of brush and palette knife. The aim is to juxtapose colors, thus creating volume, perspective and the refraction of light.
Installation Washington DC Private Collection
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