The art of portraiture is fine and nuanced. The artist wrestles with the task of capturing, not just the likeness, but the essence of their subject - a fully fleshed being in mind, body and soul - rendered in a medium that is fundamentally lifeless and flat. The process of coaxing colour and light into a representation of a living human is involved. Traditionally, subjects would sit for days in communion with the artist as their form was recorded.
Like many of us, Jo Blogg spent lockdown taking stock, pondering the nature of connection in a world where the basic human interaction we once took for granted was prohibited, and using the space to create. From this process, Everything is Not Black and White was born. It’s a personal journal of sorts, a sextet of portraits of those close to Jo’s heart, rendered in her signature mandala style. Included are three generations of Blogg women, a self portrait, Jo, her mother, Bev, and her daughter, Bill. The titles are short, sweet and familiar and speak to the intimacy of the pieces. The work is the result of conversations between artist and muse in which she gave her subjects agency to choose the palette that best represented, not their finite, mortal form, but the person within.
There’s an authenticity to the work, the result of months of painstakingly pin pricking waves of colour on perspex with paints mixed in miniature vintage sherry glasses. They are works that work on multiple dimensions, each individual dot contributing to a pulse of colour that is enlivened by the light that flows through and around them, making a whole that is more than the sum of its parts, mixed in the eye of the beholder.
As an adjunct to the larger works, Blogg has produced one hundred tiny slides, a DIY portraiture kit as a gift to the public. Rifle through the box, hold them up to the light, let your minds eye relax and choose which ones best represent you, your loved ones, the people you miss. Immerse yourself in colour and light because not everything is black and white.