Portraits by Geoffrey Stein

I paint to find out what I think about the world: to discover the things I do not have words for. I savor the slips of the hand that express one’s unconscious feelings. I am interested in the tension between abstraction and realism. I do not want to make an academic copy of the model or a photorealistic illustration. My paintings explore the tension between what needs to be shown and what does not, the seen and the unseen.

I often paint multiple portraits of the same subject. Working with the same model or source photo over time is part of an effort to get away from academic copying and move towards an image that captures the static of our information age. I am interested in a new, flatter type of image modeled on TV, video, and computer screens as they flicker and break up. The figure, the marks and the ground compete, creating a static interference that interrupts the image.

In another, related sense, these paintings are portraits of the act of seeing. Brush strokes and discern- ible features hover, hologram-like, over blocks of color, paint strokes or collage. The paint’s behavior fluctuates between creating and disrupting the face the viewer has been conditioned to seek. Often, faces are missing “parts” – eyes, cheeks, noses. As the faces and figures give way to the marks, collag- es, and erasures beneath them, the presence of so many layers forms a record of the experience of seeing and describing.

–Geoffrey Stein


Painting

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