A Search for Tenderness and Community
In an age that will forever defined by the domination of social media, painter Mary Clore supplants the “selfie” with traditional portraits painted by hand in oil.
“This series of portraits explores intimacy and human relationships,” she explains, “in contrast to the contemporary compression of images and information that occurs through technology and social media. I begin each portrait from life, intentionally selecting the subjects from my circle of friends and acquaintances. The sittings are an intimate opportunity to grow closer to an individual, and the resulting portrait offers physical proof of time spent with a person I care about. I am using a traditional medium to create an index of my relationships, mirroring the list of contacts in my phone and friends and followers I have on social media outlets.”
Clore’s work reinforces the old value of the relationship between artist and subject, and underscores that art is essential communication. If her technique is traditional, with supple and sensitive brushwork, her aesthetic is contemporary.
“My generation has received an onslaught of criticism surrounding our use of technology to build and maintain relationships. In my experience, my peers are aware of the limitations posed by these technologies and are adapting to create meaningful relationships enhanced by the technologies available to us. In the same way, my oil portraits have limitations. The paintings employ realism, but I intentionally leave some flatness and traces of brushwork. Sometimes my sitter’s personality will come through in their portrait, while some portraits remain stiff and carry less emotion. My process does not always yield the tender and personal end product that I desire. While each portrait refers to a different relationship, the series as a whole encapsulates the act of surrounding oneself with friends and forming a community. My closest friends make up a surrogate family of artists, musicians, and poets, and their creativity feeds my own. My involvement within an intimate artistic community brings joy and meaning to my work, and informs the imagery I wish to create.”
Clore was selected for this year’s Not BIG(4) Juried Show, at M.S. Rezney Studio/Gallery in Lexington, Kentucky.
Name: Mary Clore
Hometown: Goshen, Kentucky
Education: BA, Art History and a BFA, 2D Studios University of Louisville, Magna cum Laude, 2016
Written by Keith Waits. Entire contents copyright © 2017 Louisville Visual Art. All rights reserved.