The Original Selfie
This is one of Carol's very early collage pieces which she chose as her self-portrait.
The obvious focal point in this piece is the child in the lower right hand corner. You can imagine that she is daydreaming and reflecting on her young world which is full of questions and endless possibilities.
What is less obvious, but in fact is the true focus of the collage, is the woman on the right above the child. Do you see her?
This is Carol's self-portrait.
She gently opens up space to continue to see the world as she did as a child — full of endless possibilities.
Collage by Carol Weinberg
They say a picture speaks a thousand words — and no picture speaks louder than a selfie!
I started thinking about this modern phenomenon just recently. This desire by the general public to capture one's own image in every conceivable situation seemed to me to have become a kind of obsession. I am not a selfie taker, but I know a lot of people who are.
I admit that my first reaction to all this personal documentation is that it is the ultimate form of narcissism.
Well get off of your high horse Barbara Ann because after thinking about it a little more objectively I have come to realize that selfies are really nothing more then the modern day version of the age old, well respected self-portrait.
There remains nothing more personal then a self-portrait. Artists have been reproducing their own image dating as far back as ancient cave dwellings, and photographers experimenting with their new medium in the mid 19th century didn't take long before turning their rudimentary cameras on themselves.
Self-portraits and selfies are linked intrinsically and inherently to the concept of identity — personal, professional, political and historical — they declare to the viewer who we are and who we are inspired to be.
The german expressionist Egon Schiele executed numerous self-portraits throughout his short life.
Van Gogh's most famous self portrait, titled simply Self Portrait with Bandaged Ear, expressed his profound mental anguish; and Freida Kahlo, who returned to the subject of self-portraiture again and again, felt that she was her best muse for who else in the world did she know better than herself.
With all those thoughts swirling around in my head, I decided to explore the concept of the self-portrait a little more deeply in this newsletter.
The one thing I found so interesting right away was that all artists consider the idea of the self-portrait from their own unique point of view — figurative, representational, nonrepresentational, abstract — it is all there and it all says "this is me".
I have had a lot of fun researching content for these posts and seeing how differently artists chose to portray themselves. Whether it is snapping away with a smartphone or painting oneself in front of a mirror, it is all still about personal expression.
Can you just imagine Freida Kahlo with a selfie stick! Oh dear!
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