In my research I have been considering the expectations bestowed upon artists who have specific marks of identity, and how their work is expected to authenticate their experience by representing bodies like theirs in their work: women should represent their gender, people of color should represent their race, and LGBTQ people should represent their transformations and their desires. I wanted to problematize this equation by articulating normative, white, male-identified figures through the aforementioned terms of contemporary portraiture.
Having shot thousands of photographs of American football games between 2015 and 2017, I selected figures from my archive that presumably fit such criteria (normative, white, male). Isolated away from the din of the football field and surrounded by floral forms, each player becomes the subject of a composition that hovers between the visual languages of digital collage and European portrait painting. Each image is printed at life size or larger, echoing the monumental scale of historic painting, while computerized filters approximate the nuance of brushstrokes.
“Football” explores the idea that portraiture doesn’t necessarily disclose intrinsic truths about the subject matter it depicts, but rather renders representations of humans bodies as wildly fluctuating surfaces upon which culture projects, incises, and embeds its ideals.