Hoping it would catapult me back into making art after a dry spell, in 2015 I participated in The 100 Day Project, where people choose something they will do or make each day for 100 days, and also document it and post it to social media each day. The project started on April 6th, 2015 and ran until July 14th, 2015. I painted faces from Marina Abramovic's performance at MoMA The Artist is Present from 2010, using photographs Marco Anelli took of each of the participants in his book Portraits in the Presence of Marina Abramovic.
The Artist is Present saw Abramovic sit in a chair six days a week for three months, with people lining up for hours for the chance to sit across from her and look into her eyes. The instructions for participants on a plaque in the second floor atrium at MoMA read “Sit silently with the artist for a duration of your choosing”. Some sat for minutes; some for hours.
Louis van den Hengel, who witnessed Abramovic's entire three month-long performance The Artist is Present and who is writing a book on her, had this to say: "I ended up sitting with Marina for a duration of about three hours; the exchange we had was profoundly moving, unsettling, and remarkably detailed. I am always a bit amused when people ask me if I ever "met" Marina Abramovic in person, even when they know that I have looked into her eyes for hours -- an intimate experience which I have never shared with anyone else, not even my own partner. And Abramovic is a master when it comes to working with the energies of her audience. The dialogue that I had with her sitting in silence on that chair by far exceeded in information any written or spoken conversation that I had with her since. It has given me an embodied understanding of Abramovic's work that forms the foundation of everything I have written about it."
A friend I worked with had also been to New York and witnessed some of Marina Abramovic’s performance, and had brought back Portraits in the Presence of Marina Abramovic. Knowing nothing previously of either Abramovic or Anelli, I became fascinated by this book of photos. The collection of faces, all facing the same direction (toward Abramovic) with the most intense expressions of wonder, sorrow, pain, consternation, amazement, and even love, makes for an unusual and extraordinary book. When I decided to participate in The 100 Day Project, I knew I wanted to paint faces from Anelli’s book (partway through the project I contacted Marco Anelli to tell him I was using his photos to make paintings —a correspondence ensued, and he kindly added a link to my work on his website).
It was a crazy 3-month-long process: my painting skills improved a lot, though of course there were days when I would have preferred to keep my output hidden. However, an important aspect of The 100 Day Project is that you should post to social media each day. I had just recently started experimenting with ink, and the daily painting in effect forced the development of a style I had never previously painted in. In 2016 I made a book of the paintings that sold out; I am now on the hunt for a publisher.
I used Daler Rowney's FW acrylic ink in payne's grey, on BFK Rives 100% cotton paper. Original paintings are 11X15 inches and cost $450 unframed; until I get them posted in my shop please contact me for more information.
Click on an image for a close-up view.