Monday, June 29, 2009

Words on a Portrait - "Barbara"

"Every painting tells a story.
Here comes mine...

The profile picture Matt painted of me is showing me in a thoughtful posture, which is just how I feel lately, call it midlife-crisis, I don't know... It was the day of my birthday, I was watching my guests talking to each other. I was sitting there, just watching them, listening. I remember it very well. The room was full, but I was on my own. My husband took the photo, Matt painted it. That makes the portrait important to me.

A frozen moment in time. (Isn't the past, the life on which you look back, a collection of single moments frozen in your memory? Are we able to re-live or re-imagine longer periods like a week ? a day? an hour? second by second by second? No! We hop from moment to moment, good or bad, but always important for some reason.)

Matt Held and I are half brother and sister. We got to know each other only when we were almost grown-ups. One day, maybe ten years ago, when social networking was still to be invented in a larger scale, we started an email-correspondence that lasted for more than a year. But that's a different story.

When I joined his Facebook-group last year there were about 43 group-members. To be honest, the thought of being portrayed caused strange sensations of embarrassment in me, but as the group grew larger and larger and the number of beautiful finished portraits too, my opinion changed. With joy I watched the wave of enthusiasm the project was arousing among the facebook-users. Who could have expected this?

There were quite a few articles in the press and web, that talked about the phenomena of social networking lately. Painting has been a big subject too over the last years. Since Matt Held's facebook-project seemed to be the first that treated both as one, the echo it evoked was: this is brand new, hot! People loved it! Why? Because it was so personal! But it works on different levels.

While my first approach to it was personal and intimate too, the project as a whole at the same time turned out to be so relevant for many. It is fresh, open minded and actual, touching the reality and existence of every person who takes part in today's decade-changing progress, meaning the internet-based communication, which influences the social behavior and every day habits so evidently. The computer screen is the window to the world indeed, and it has become a means for reaching out. You look at me, I look at you and your friends... and: the artist looks at the model.

Why did Matt portray his wife's facebook-pic? He could have portrayed her sitting in front of her doing sketches. Instead he chose do do it from her fb-pic. The creative move behind that is clear to see. A bridge from 18th century to today. But still there is always a story behind. And a special moment."

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