¹ John Berger, The Changing View of Man in the Portrait, published in The Moment of Cubism and Other Essays, (1969)

To state that "I am a portraitist" is one and the same thing as portraying myself, and also in the most concise and accurate way I have as yet been able to come up with.

 

Naturally, this may feel insufficient both as a statement and a portrait; but as far as the latter goes, portraying can be defined, essentially, as a human being retrieving the idea of a[nother] human, by thought, brush, word or whatever means imaginable. This was, if nothing else, partially accomplished, so what else is to be added?

 

Precisely that “the demands of a modern vision are incompatible with the singularity of viewpoint which is the prerequisite for a static-painted likeness”, as John Berger put it¹. We suspect reality too unfathomably complex to be expressed in just one fashion. This fundamental idea, declared almost 50 years ago, stays alive today and lies behind a continuous search for further ways to assess what portraiture is, as well as behind my aspiration to a unitary oeuvre, a total portrait if you like, which would concurrently embrace the conscious and subconscious, the sensory and intellectual, the inner and outer aspects, among innumerable others, of that fragmentary phenomena that we come to categorize as human identity.

 

February 2017