“The aim of art is to present not the outward appearance of things, but their inner significance; for this, not the external manner and detail, constitutes true reality.” ~ Aristotle
Portrait paintings have long been a fundamental element of artistic expression dating back to ancient Eygpt. These early portriatures were commissioned as records of the dead as well as the ruling class. Throughout the centuries aritists have returned to this genre, depicting the wealthy, the poor, the meek, the privileged, and everything in between. Master’s such as DiVinci, Renoir, and Eakins have been hailed for their realistic approaches to form and composition while Matisse, VanGogh, Klimt, and Picasso used metaphors, colors, and distorted figures to depict more symbolic forms of their subjects. Prior to the advent of photography, portraits were largely commissioned as a visual biography of everyday life. Post camera, portraits became a coveted item for the bourgeoisie in modernized Western societies.
Contemporary art has created new frontiers for portrait artists. No longer do we only see large realistic commissions of seated families. Rather, art enthusists and collectors are reaching across boundaries in search of abstraction, metaphorical reference, and something entirely different. Artist Christi Manuelito embraces this frontier with veracity.
Known for her abstract figurative work using mixed media, Manuelito is a busy artist these days. Her latest commission, a 60” x 48” “visual biography,” is the culmination of years of planning. For this piece, the Moore family didn’t sit for long hours while she carefully depicted every detail of their faces, bodies and home; instead Christi has interpreted each of them through the use of symbols, color, and form. “It all started over a lunch date at Arcadia Farms,” states Manuelito, “Mrs. Moore enjoys the use of symbols which I believe is what initially attracted her to my work.”
Moore wanted a painting that would reflect her beautiful family’s interests and cherished memories. To achieve a painting that portrayed their distinct personalities Manuelito used abstract figures, vibrant colors, varying textures, hand cut and etched metal. By using mixed media she is able to represent the combination of character, emotion, and culture that comprise families. Christi expresses that she “wanted to put a contemporary spin on the family portrait.” The metal and nails, juxtaposed with paint and delicate features plays off the binary of masculine and feminine, while the use of symbols illustrates each person’s unique qualities and interests.
After thorough research, preliminary sketches, and over a year of preparation the “Moore Visual Biography” will be unveiled April 15th, 2010. The finished piece has over 780 hand woven metal stitches, 300 pieces of cut metal, and many hours of love, patience, and talent!
“The Moore family has such a motivating story to tell, the love and devotion they have for one another it truly inspiring and I feel extremely fortunate to have had the opportunity to work with them on this piece.” ~Christi Manuelito
Sherry Moore and her son Chris Moore at the unveiling of their family portrait. Clyde, unfortunately was unable to attend.
To learn more about Christi’s visual biographies or to be added to the waiting list for her work, please contact Clark Olson at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 480.941.8500