Each contemporary family portrait in Portrait of a Family is based on two generations of an actual family. The figures are painted almost life size life size directly on the canvas, in their own space, devoid of any kind of background and possible associations of place, mood, or social symbols. This isolation serves to cancel extraneous information and concentrate on each individual figure, and then emphasize the image of the family as a whole. Each portrait also includes any pets the family has. There is no precise blueprint for which family members are portrayed, and viewers are left to formulate the relations within each painting themselves. The work defies judgment, prejudices and laws-- the portraits present a family.
A total of 10 Portrait of a Family paintings were created. All the work on this page was made in 2001-2006.
Family Sittings refers to historical painted family portraits. The figures in these paintings were carefully adorned with the clothes and jewelry, and surrounded by carefully curated objects. Extending this tradition; the family is painted, sitting, dressed in formal attire, in their living room. The families’ identities are portrayed only through their material belongings, their bodies implied only by the mold of garments. Each painting is filled with symbols, cues that trigger assumptions to class, race and gender of each of the person, and the collective family.
Family Trees represents two generations of a contemporary family to swatches of skin color for each person, tying the work back to the origins of prejudice of American matrimony.