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Archive for January, 2012

11th Jan 2012

Pablo Picasso’s Essence Portrait – Psalm 46

The basic Essence Portrait of Picasso is created with strokes that are the original letters of Psalm 46. It was completed at near the end of December 2011, just in time to be included in my annual card/print and blog image.

It is a departure for me. Previously I have somewhat mimicked the actual styles of the artists whose basic Essence Portraits I made. The Picasso portrait somewhat adheres to his earlier style, but includes references to his life and work “hidden” within the image.

The Harlequin pattern, again from his pre-Cubism works, can be seen at the bottom right of the image. Several of Picasso’s Harlequins have gone for near record breaking (at the time) amounts at auction.

Less obvious are the blobby looking fingers imagery that Picasso used in Guernica and other works. There finger tips can be found at the top far left of his head.

Also, the line of shadow on the portraits right forehead is basically the Atlantic shoreline that runs from Spain to France.  Picasso was born and educated in Spain, but spent his artistic life as an ex-patriot living in France , in protest of Franco’s regime. He is strongly associated and claimed as their artist by people in both countries.

So far I have only created Essence Portraits of artists who have influenced my work. Picasso’s Cubist idea of showing a object or person from all sided on a flat plane – depicting what the artist knows is there, but cannot see from his current perspective – helped lead me to portraying the smallest essences, the pre-matter or energy strings of elementary physics, which we also cannot see.

There is another, purely visual connection, or line that runs from Picasso’s Guernica directly to my work using letters as strokes. In my senior year in the High School of Music and Art, my beloved art teacher, Mr. Bertram Katz assigned me to do an in depth report on a painting.  Although, I would have preferred a van Gogh or Monet, I ended up with Guernica.  I discovered a treasure trove of information in the Donnell Library, that included may versions or studies of the Weeping Woman (also called the Wailing Woman), the bull, Horse, etc. I dutifully traced many of these for my report. It ended up being 30 odd pages of my tracings and written information.

I learned to make studies, multiple studies, until I had what I wanted, and then that it is OK to sell them all. I watched as the misery of the Weeping Woman was accentuated through Picasso’s experimentation. I remember that there were days that I could hardly wait for school to be over so that I could head back to the reference department at the Donnell to unlock more of the mystery of the creation of Guernica.  Plus, it helped that Guernica was still at the Museum of Modern Art so I could walk from the Donnell straight to MoMA to compare what I had just carefully traced to the final painting. I recall my parents questioning me after a week as to where I was actually going as I sort of disappeared for a few weeks, until my dad saw all the tracings and notes.

If you look closely at Guernica you can see that the horse’s coat is comprised of strokes that are lines that are in rows and look a lot like a simple letter I, or small l, or number 1, or Hebrew vav, which I recognized at the time, although I doubt it was what Picasso meant..My tracing of Picasso’s horse in Guernica was the first time I can recall using a symbol as a stroke.

Pablo Picasso (Psalm 46)

by Judy Rey Wasserman

To see more basic Essence portraits by Judy Rey click: Basic Essence Portraits and also check out the links above that page for more info, including how you can commission a portrait of you or a loved one.
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Judy Rey Wasserman is an artist and the founder of Post Conceptual Art theory and also the branch known as UnGraven Image Art. Download a free copy click: Manifesto of Post Conceptual Art– A Painting’s Meaning is Inherent in its Stroke.
Check out the limited and open edition prints in the estore.
Follow her on Twitter at @judyrey .

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