Portrait of David Hockney (Color) 2021 © Blommers & Schumm / courtesy The Ravestijn Gallery
The 'Portrait of David Hockney' by Blommers & Schumm immediately catches one’s eye. Blommers & Schumm push the boundaries of what some might consider traditional portraiture by covering the majority of the subjects face with a variety of materials from sneakers to paintbrushes, notably an ode to Hockney’s influential bounds as an artist. The color version of this portrait consists of the greens, blues, and yellows so commonly found in Hockney’s work, as if a living portrayal and encapsulation of his artwork. However, the black and white portrait is just as profound, as even with the obvious lack of color in comparison to the Hockey’s other portrait, the eclecticness and creativity of this artist speaks through the work in an almost Picasso-like constructed photograph.
Contrasting themes of gender are also heavily dominant in this exhibition. Pacifico Silano’s 'Pages of a Blueboy Magazine' is an installation of 100 individually framed prints. The repetitiveness of the warm colors used in the images, with almost every subject looking directly into the camera, creates almost an eerie example of what society defines as manhood. In contrast to the uniformity of 'Pages of a Blueboy Magazine', Inez & Vinoodh showcased 'The Gentlewoman', taken just seven years after. The contrasts between these two portraits are immense. 'The Gentlewoman' shows a more layered composition, from the complexly adorned mask worn by the subject, to the bright and floral robe, and even the kettle chips being gracefully held by a red manicure. The casualty of the chips and robe allow the mask and nails to speak for themselves, and create a cohesive and intricate portrayal and fluidity of the subject in respect to gender, whereas the simplicity of Brad Pitt creates a different narrative entirely.
Also notably, Robin de Puy explores the many versions of the female portrait. Jane Goodall, with a necklace of Africa adorning her neck, focuses on the wisdom and inspiration Goodall is known for in the environmental community. Perhaps Robin de Puy’s portrait titled Noah, portraying a young girl wearing similar blues to Goodall, is a note to the inspiration Goodall has instilled especially in younger generations. The subject of Noah, as well as the subject of Faiza, both are young women looking off camera, perhaps metaphorically towards the future.
These beautifully depicted themes of gender, intersectionality, and representation are the central ideas in 'The Portrait', and a wonderful take on the human condition is exhibited by each photographer. 'The Portrait' exhibition will be open from June 25th to September 4th at the Ravestijn Gallery in Amsterdam, The Netherlands.