Social Visionaries Re-imagined


Social Visionaries Re-imagined portrays local historical figures and is intended to encourage the audience to view the subjects in a fresh way. Based in central New York State (Auburn, Seneca Falls, Rochester, and Syracuse), these figures significantly impacted history in the general area where I grew up. But their influence as champions of social justice obviously had a much bigger reach and their struggle was/is timeless.

There have been times when I've been personally reminded that viewing the familiar from an outsider's perspective can be a valuable experience. With that spirit in mind, I painted this series in a non-traditional style. The faces are built with instinctual shapes of flat color, accentuated by carefully chosen side-by-side color relationships which help to build tone with simultaneous contrast. The tones are then layered with abstract shapes and lines, anchored by dark lines locating major facial features.

Though the subjects are representational and recognizable, the effect of this style is to allow viewers to consider the subjects for an extended time as the eye goes deep into layers of abstraction, to again find the portrait. This institutes an appropriate pause for contemplation. I hope that within this pause the viewer will consider the bravery and will of each figure, and the fact that in the 19th century their efforts towards human rights and equality were fought against the tide of society.