Two Selves

MICHAEL ROBERTS
Two Selves

Earlier in his career, Michael Roberts created highly realistic portrait cut-outs on wood. His subjects included well-known political or historical figures as well as ordinary citizens. The cut-outs appeared three dimensional instead of flat, with facial features augmented by intense lighting at close range.

Showing the influence of medieval paintings on wood, these works might be mistaken for darkened heirloom oil paintings. On second glance, one sees lying on the ground, a depiction of a recent Time Magazine's Man of the Year edition featuring Newt Gingerich. The partial view of a car tire comes close -- or is it over? -- the magazine. Roberts appears in this painting, as he does in many of the others, this time coming out of a cloud, clutching two figurines. Words in Latin or other "dead languages," as Roberts puts it, are intentionally used. Small elements are noticed in later viewings. You, the viewer, are left to decipher the symbols, the mysteries. Some seem more obvious, others enigmatic.

text and image from Iowa Artisans Gallery

This page was first displayed
on June 28, 2012

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