Struck by how iconic paintings are more myth than actual object, and playing off Walter Benjamin’s question of the aura in the age of mechanical reproduction, in Portraits I reverse engineer auras for the subjects of famous paintings. Researching the sitter’s personality and historical context, I link that narrative with color meanings prescribed in aura photography interpretation.
While I admit to an element of the ridiculous, these works are sincere portraits. As I studied how aura photography readings construe the placement and significance of colors, allowing myself to believe became part of the process. In building a story of the subject’s life through color, an emotional presence surfaced. The subject’s silhouette from the original painting is referenced in the stitch pattern and the original proportions remain the same. The resulting aura is a new kind of portrait, related to but distinct from the original.