"Eyeless Portraits 1, 2 & 3" or "Who they were"
8in x10in each
“Eyeless Portraits” arose from a deeply traumatic experience my family and I went through in late 2013/early 2014. My little sister suffered a traumatic brain injury that landed her in an ICU for a week, followed by months of rehab. I think her injury and our experience of it changed all of us, mostly for the better, but at the time, it felt devastating as it took its toll on everyone. I had to be away from my sister, mother and brother (pictured here) during much of the experience, after having only spent a week with them during the most critical moments. It was during this separation that I painted these portraits.
In creating these eyeless faces, I grappled with the identities of my family members as they changed before my eyes, several states and seemingly a million miles away. I was looking at these trite old snapshots of them and realizing deep inside – “No, this is not them anymore”. At the time that I painted the portraits, it felt awful, like I was destroying my family’s perceived identities. The only tangible explanation I could muster was that it was a (very dark) acknowledgement of their blindness in the face of an uncertain future. In hindsight, I realize that it was my way of admitting and understanding that none of them would ever be the same.
***Footnote: As I went to post this tale and an en explanation of each piece, I realized it’s much too long for Tumblr. Message me for the whole thing if you’re interested—there’s a small story behind each image selected, and the family members who are not shown. Thanks for reading!