Many abstract artists have taken portraiture and figurative art to the unrecognisable, for example Pablo Picasso. In my abstract figurative and abstract nature paintings I have always attempted to combine the abstract with the semi-realistic. This in order to lend an anchor to the minimum of the known and then to invite the viewer to explore the subjective and psychological elements which actually represent a more accurate picture of the entity at several moments and over time, rather than a frozen “painted photograph” showing one moment in time. I often use myself and others as “models” for these abstract portraits and figurative works. Sometimes these “models” are used in a context which may be in relationship to how I see or experience them personally, but often there is actually no connection to the theme of the painting. All portraits are derived and developed from photographs I possess.
HERE ARE A FEW OF MY ABSTRACT PORTRAITS AND FIGURATIVE PAINTINGS:
“Model”: Adam Donaldson Powell.
STRAIGHT TO HELL — MAPPLETHORPE IN TRIPTYCH.
I decided that it was best to depict Mapplethorpe in an Expressionist style – and almost like a charcoal and chalk painting. This because the style fits the era when he was growing up, but also to convey technique-wise the brutal simplicity of his art photography. His photographic portraits were perhaps designed to challenge the traditional “high art” status dominance of painted portraits. Mapplethorpe is often quoted as having said: “People don’t have time to wait for somebody to paint their portraits anymore. The money is in photography”. The wisdom of my choice of painting style is perhaps most apparent in the center panel, which deals with his internal perceptions of himself, and where the spectator’s eye goes straight to the majestic Cala Lily – The flower of Death – of which Mapplethorpe was so keen. The contrast provided by the single flower that is so calm and majestic is so powerful that the drama of the expressionist style is immediately reset — in a single glance. This artwork is rife with symbolism. The panels are meant to recall gay jerk-off magazines from the ’50s and ’60s, and thus the reference to “la main gauche” (the left hand). Mapplethorpe created magnificent classy/artistic porn: sexually provocative, statuesque bodybuilders (predominant in the gay mags of his era), celebrity porn (the masturbation of striving for fame in one’s own lifetime and beyond), sensual portraits of flowers etc.
“Straight to Hell — Mapplethorpe in triptych”, Adam Donaldson Powell, oil on canvas, 2018. Keywords: Mapplethorpe, tabloid (lurid, sensational) art, guns as penises, penises as guns, splattered blood, blood stains, sex, AIDS, crosses, Calla lily (flower of Death), sado-masochism, fetish, narcissism, pecs and nipples, the body as a living sculpture, perfection vs. the glory of the imperfect, Don Herron’s iconic Tubshot photo. Each panel measures 40 x 50 cm.
NB. Yes, I address Mapplethorpe’s obsession with Black men and their bodies / genitals by featuring Mapplethorpe himself in mirror image — as both Caucasian and Negroid. In this way his desire to completely embody and define ultimate personification of sexuality will finally be complete. The iconic Don Herron Tubshots photo of Mapplethorpe was chosen as my model because I actually met Mapplethorpe at his loft when Don and I delivered the photograph to him. This triptych is my “tribute” to both Don Herron and Robert Mapplethorpe
“Model”: Tor (in memoriam).
“Le jeune homme et la mort”, 65×90 cm., oil on canvas. This is my re-interpretation of Cocteau’s idea for the famous ballet. See my notes about this HERE!
“Model”: my nephew Austin.
“Portrait of Austin”, 100 x 100 cm., oil on canvas was made some years ago when he was an infant and further developed into my perception of him as a young teenager — based upon his physical characteristics and personality. It is my way of looking into the future based upon my perceptions of the present.
HERE ARE A FEW OF MY ABSTRACT NATURE PAINTINGS:
“Y yo pienso aun en ti”, oil on canvas, 100×100 cm.
«Lone moose in sunset», oil on canvas, 65×90 cm., 2018.
“Tribute to Mars: The Great Source and Center”, oil on canvas, 50 x 50 cm.
“Nightfall – with Winter giving way to Spring”, 50×50 cm., 2017.
“Aged stone” (Oil on styrofoam).
“Eclipse”/craquelure, oil on canvas, 40×40 cm.
«Sunrise in early Spring», oil on canvas, 65×90 cm., 2018.
“Seascape I” (original of a series), oil on canvas, 120×120 cm.”
“Tribute to Yukio Mishima: Spring Snow”, oil on canvas, 50×50 cm.”
“Ghosts no. 2 — Climate change sucks the life out of Spring”, 15×15 cm., oil on canvas, 2018
“Ghosts no. 1 — Climate change sucks the life out of Spring”, 15×15 cm., oil on canvas, 2018
All works by Adam Donaldson Powell.
SEE MORE OF MY RECENT OIL PAINTINGS AT: