Artists Look in The Mirror



Everyone looks in the mirror. We watch ourselves as we brush our teeth, put on make up, comb our hair.  Artists, however who paint self-portraits, look much  deeper into that mirror. Self-portraits have been a preoccupation of artists since Rembrandt who depicted himself with sensitivity and insight at various stage of his life.  

At this time, 2018, when we as a nation  are having difficulty explaining ourselves to ourselves and people around the world, it is especially important to look through the artist’s eyes to reveal psychological truths.   

Both Kamar Thomas and Saralene Tapley paint in search of identity, self-knowledge and their place in the world. Gülşen Çalik sees the whole world as a mirror and explores both reflected ideas and inflected ego. All three artists manifest these ideas in starkly different ways.

Saralene explores questions of gender identity and feminist tropes through performance.  Her paintings and monoprints show emotion in an urgent, fervent way. Her faces cry out for attention and recognition.

Kamar’s concerns are about ”the dissonances between the corporeal self, the represented self, the internal self and the social self within African American culture and the Caribbean diaspora.” He is strikingly aware of the differences between the concept of “black man” in Caribbean Jamaica and in the diaspora and addresses these conflicting selves in his paintings.  Some paintings reveal several selves in one while others hide the model’s color under the paint. His desire to address the dilemma of personal identity is the underlying theme.

Gülşen’s work re-interprets, re-imagines and re-constructs what is found and imagines and constructs what is not found.

2--Saralene Tapley Blond
The Big Purple One
Self-Portrait as Drawing on My Skin
The One With the Three Heads
4--Saralene Tapley Green
3--Self-Portrait as Cash 2
The Big Green One
1--"Self-portrait as Cat" 2002, altered photograph, painted, erased, 3.5x4.5 Gülsen Calik
1--Saralene Tapley Purple
2--Self-portrait as Horseshoe Crab
3--Saralene Tapley Multi-colored

© Susan L. Halper Fine Art, Inc. 2020