See More: the portrait rejuvenated

Mentor: Joe Lucchesi

Abstract: The purpose of this project is to explore how the genre of portraiture in painting suffered yet flourished during the 1950s in the United States? the age when many painters progressively moved away from representational art toward abstraction. I identify and analyze artists who rethought and rejuvenated the genre deemed to expire and understand how they pursued the figure as a vehicle to assert individualism and identity through evoking emotion, feminist empowerment, social justice, and sexual and racial rights. This will be inquired through two avenues of research. The first part is to investigate portraiture's modernization,through a contextual and critical study of American art in the 1950s. The second avenue explores portraiture through a studio concentration in photography and painting, in which I describe my own vision of people that simultaneously depicts and expresses the sitter through various methods heavily influenced by Henri Matisse, Elaine de Kooning, and Jenny Saville who treat the skin in different ways that reveal more about the sitter beyond their physical appearance. By researching American portraiture during the 1950s, I will find that it was valued as an expression of identity and was sustained to define individuals, the self, and communities and share alternative visions of people that suggest more than their surface appearance. The portrait is therefore an important testimony to how people contextually perceived and portrayed each other.It actively echoes the voices of the painter and the sitter which demonstrates the painter's intention in representing the figure.