Fall/Winter 2015. Issue 10

Fall/Winter 2015. Issue 10

Self-Portrait: Shane Crabtree

Shane Crabtree

109 Self Portraits: “ I am still here”

The face in these self-portraits is meant to be an object of interest, not a true likeness. It could be an urn in a still life. These are not portraits in the usual sense of capturing the essence of a person. They are not meant to portray my particular, individual range of human emotions, though they may suggest them. Here, you will see subtle nuances of change and then extreme, even dramatic, shifts in the physical reality of the face.

We exist in a swath of time, living in the recent past and the near future. We travel back and forth, inching slowly forward, or we lurch forward convulsively. Our faces are a chronological document.

The face is malleable; it is ever changing. An aging person can look near death and then bounce back, losing a decade in appearance. The face can seem to be disintegrating, fading out of this world, and then be fully back again, comical, even ridiculous. Another tick of the clock and it is serious and dignified.

There is an androgynous, “gender-bending” quality to the aging face. One begins to lose identifying characteristics. We can experience the transience of life, a sort of dynamic impermanence in these self-portraits. Still the face does persist and one seeks it out.

Materials: graphite, Speedball ink, India ink, charcoal, pastel, acrylic paint, various papers.

Techniques: monotype, painting, drawing with the non-dominant hand, with eyes closed, upside down drawing, stick drawing from five feet away, etc.

Sound: “Portrait of Shane Crabtree”, composed by Scott Wheeler, played by Olga Vinokur, Bargemusic, Brooklyn NY, August, 2012. The exhibition and music are available on DVD; please contact Shane Crabtree directly.

Shane lives in Andover MA and has been painting all her life. She received her formal art education at Smith College, the DeCordova Museum School, the Haystack Mountain School of Crafts, and the Essex Arts Center. She has also had several private tutorials with many artists over the years, notably Leonard Baskin and Fairfield Porter. Occasionally she gives workshops, most often in gelatin printmaking. She may be contacted at slcrabtree@verizon.net.