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Lethbridge Public Library presents: Joseph Anderson-The Saskatoon Portraits
April 12, 2017 - July 27, 2017
An event every day that begins at 1:00am, repeating until June 14, 2017
Painting portraits is new to me. My artistic background has mainly alluded to fantasy, fairy tales, and nonsense. A few years ago however, I completed a self-portrait for an exhibition and enjoyed the combination of the rough texture of my beard against the smooth skin. This one painting convinced me to begin a series of bearded male portraits. Over several months, I approached bearded friends, acquaintances, and even strangers to pose as models. In subsequent years, I wanted to expand this portraiture theme by painting a variety of both men and women (although my interest in beards always draw me back to familiar territory). Some of the people in this new series, The Saskatoon Portraits, were unknown to me, but existed in the periphery of my day-to-day life here in my adopted city. For example, Leif is an artist’s son; Dallas owns a local yoga studio; the girl with the pink hair was a friend-of-a-friend; Alexander is a local artist and student; and Janice works in a nearby building. Others were more familiar, including my office-mate Blessing, and colleague Toryn. Despite my own interaction with the subjects, I enjoy the way portraits encourage viewers to develop their own theories about identity, mood, and characteristics. My own thoughts about identity also developed during the many hours spent studying the model’s photograph. An unexpected closeness emerges in this artist/model relationship, something which involves a great deal of trust and scrutiny. In order for the audience to understand this personal connection, many of the models are looking directly at the viewer, returning their gaze. The blank background of my portraits attempt to lead the focus away from the environment of each person. Instead, I want the audience to study the painted representation, and possibly gain an insight into each unique individuality.