Online: The Autobiographical Figure

The self-portrait is one thing, but figurative painters also build a complex personal story by drawing directly from figures they encounter or by creating figurative persona that stand in for themselves. This workshop will work with the figure — beginning with one’s own body and considering that body in relation to other bodies. By using mirrors, reference photographs, family photo albums, and other visual media, this workshop is focused on creating a series of images that explore, interrogate and mythologize personal history. Artists we will consider in the workshop— among others — are Jennie Saville, Elizabeth Peyton, Hernan Bas, Celia Paul, Henry Taylor, Frida Kahlo, Fairfield Porter, Chitra Ganesh, and David Wojnarowicz. We will not be using a live model in this workshop.

This workshop will use Zoom for two six-hour Saturday sessions. The first Saturday is focused on learning from several artists who are working in dialogue with the workshop’s theme. Using prompts drawn from these artists’ work, we’ll engage their thinking in our picture making. During the week, participants will be encouraged to continue working on their own (as time allows) and everyone will schedule an individual consultation with the instructor. The following Saturday is focused on additional consideration of artists relevant to the workshop theme, continued studio work, and a final group review.

Participants don’t need to have a studio, but should have a workspace that has internet access or data access for an on-going Zoom video conference. The course is open to artists of all skill levels, who are interested in oil painting, acrylic painting, drawing, watercolor, collage, or multimedia approaches. Ideally you should have some familiarity with the materials with which you choose to work as material demonstrations are somewhat ineffective over Zoom.