gareth colliton

Exploration of identity within Portraiture

In the studio stands an easel in front of an arm chair. From time to time someone sits in the chair and has their portrait painted; the process is complex and time consuming, and it can often be quite intimate, leading to insights into a person’s life that few are privy to. A sitter is forced to stay inactive for an extended time, whilst often also being questioned about their lives, and they naturally become introspective and thoughtful. In time, they can drop their guard and reveal aspects of themselves which would otherwise not be revealed in normal social interaction.

This is an interesting aspect of the portrait process, and leads us to consider the role and indeed, the limits, of portraiture.

Unlike traditional portraits, which contain multiple layers of emblematic symbolism, these images begin to pare back the sitter so that they exhibit few signs of their external lives. The latter works push against the territory of the nude, but maintain their investigative path by exploring the identity of the sitter as a fragmented self, composed of facets of a multiplicity of others.