Wednesday, May 02, 2018


Mac photo-booth version of the actual mug a few minutes ago. The paintings are better than photographs, in my opinion. By "better" I mean truer.


Vincent said...

Yes, but I wonder what “truer” means. I would say you are the best judge in this case. But then I wonder about the relationship of truth and subjectivity. For example, there's a portrait of our Queen by Lucian Freud. One could question, or debate, its truthfulness. Would the Queen herself be the best judge of its truthfulness? I don't know what to think. I imagine she didn't like it.

“Lucian Freud has described his paintings as ‘a kind of truth-telling exercise.’”

I don’t like them. It’s clear to me he fails to see the divine spark in a person, which to me is the truth worth sharing.

After which digression I come to the rapid conclusion that yes indeed, your paintings are truer than photographs.

Anonymous said...

I think I know what you mean by "truer". We all seem to pull enigmatic faces when we look at a camera lens. There is usually some sort of neutrality about our expressions:I suppose we don't know who we're looking at or why. The portraits say so much more - including quite a lot, I think, of how we see ourselves (and I mean "we": what I'm thinking about is pretty universal, I think) at different ages!

N. D'Arbeloff said...

Vincent, indeed what is "true" about an individual's likeness is impossible to pin down. Fhe way one sees one's self is, I suppose, neither more or less true than the way others see us or that a camera sees us, regardless of who is taking the photo. The most talented photographer (or painter) in the world would not necessarily capture a "truer" likeness of a person than a mechanical photo-booth snapshot.

I agree with you about Lucian Freud (I wrote a review of a big retrospective of his work in Paris some years ago). His 'truth'is simply what he chooses to see and to depict in his particular style. It's not really truth because he leaves out what makes a body a person. He's very skilful at depicting flesh in various positions but finally, all flesh is similar, like meat. The spark is missing, as you say.

N. D'Arbeloff said...

Dominic, I agree as well. The interesting thing about painting a self-portrait, for me, is the challenge of looking at a face which is both extremely familiar and totally unknown, Then having to make decisions about how to translate this uncertainty into a visual form which fits one's feeling.