Portraits: My paintings are intimate. At times these people are seen in their public persona, distanced and iconic. At times they are unique selves. In painting portraits I am aware of the various forms a work can take. The portrait itself is perhaps descended from antique tomb effigies. Durer spoke of portraitureís use as commemorative in its ability to preserve the likeness of individuals after their deaths, an expression of faith in the magical victory of art over time. The full length view was once reserved for royalty; the profile, dignified and hieratic, is reminiscent of classical antiquity. The head and shoulder, used from the 17th century to the present incorporates artists as diverse as Frans Hals, Chuck Close and Gerhard Richter.

Dolls: The dolls were found while closing up my fatherís house. They are cultural icons from my childhood, made rich by human use. As paintings, they lie somewhere between still-life and figurative work. Although carefully observed portraits, they are also memento mori.

Still-Life: My still-lifes range from simple direct observation, studied as if specimens for scientific research, to the improbable: large bouquets of flowers that bloom at various times of the year, which can be combined only on canvas. Erwin Panofsky coined the phrase "disguised symbolism" to describe the double meaning frequently inherent in descriptive painting. For instance, flowers as a reminder of the transience of all earthly things. Some of the paintings refer to vanitas or memento mori, evoking memory and loss, painted with an elegance that belies the grimness of the moral.

Human Rights Violations: The end of the Cold War has not brought peace and security. The world remains a terrifying, violent and deadly place. Human rights abuse continues. Terrorism, ethnic cleansing, torture and political killing are commonplace. The images in this series were first rendered in watercolor, then in egg tempera, a medium chosen because of its reference to art history and religion, and rich metaphorical potential. I focus on fragments of minute detail: a piece of fruit, a tool, the mundane physical fact of ordinary things, in order to jolt the imagination. The ordinariness surrounding brutal acts renders them more terrifying and horrendous. As is Sienese art, my aim is to seduce the viewer into looking, and then to become aware of the content.



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MARCI GINTIS :: PAINTINGS