The self-portrait is, by its very nature, linked to the artist’s identity. She insists on her relevance, her existence even, through her representation of the self. In “Anti-Selfies” I present myself to the viewer with my signifiers – my red glasses and pink lipstick. To create the first layer in these works, the fundamental self-portrait, I capture my face in a grid of nine parts, three rows of three. The second, superimposed layer, also gridded, has anywhere from 9 to 841 parts. These images are screen shots from what has become my camera of choice, my iPhone.
Most of these digital composite images live in two dimensions. Instead of a deep, perspectival space, these images flatten out and parade across the surface of the picture plane as mosaics. This compositional device generates a tension in the play between fragmentation and cohesion, between seeing the portrait as a whole and separating the layers, hence seeing the many discrete images, “reading” them individually, in sequence, like text.
Jason Farago, in his New York Times essay on Albrecht Dürer’s 1500 self-portrait, implies that the artist presents “the self as a subjective individual, the author of one’s own life story.” This resonates deeply with what I am creating in this series. My gridded constructions are, in essence, anti-selfies. While the ‘sitter’ in those ubiquitous images that appear everywhere on social media is prominent, center-stage, my visage is obscured, sometimes practically consumed by what surrounds or lays on top of it. In contrast to the quick, casual, spontaneous selfie, my self-portraits are deliberate, formal, fabricated, staged composites combining, blending, and superimposing a variety of images: flowers, beloved objects, Zelensky, exhibitions I have seen, my home, my ancestors, my progeny and my self. These self-portraits are consciously self-centered; they are considered, vibrant, multi-layered creations that state, “I am here, and this is my story”.