Rembrandt van Rijn,Self-portrait, c. 1628 oil on panel, 22.6 × 18.7 cm Rijksmuseum Amsterdam, NL
I hope all of you are well and are continuing to weather the storm of the pandemic. During these difficult time, artists and writers have continued to work, to think, to produce.
In this issue, The Art Section's writers investigate the idea of the artist's persona. When considering this concept, I began to reflect on artists throughout history who addressed the idea of persona in their work. In the seventeenth century, Rembrandt van Rijn made close to one hundred self-portraits, including paintings, drawings, and etchings. He began this practice at a very young age and continued until 1669, the year he died at the age of 63. Through these works, Rembrandt defined the identity, the persona, in which we still know him today and allowed us to witness the evolution of this persona across his life.
Phil Auslander, Editor of The Art Section, and José Alberto Ferreira dialogue here about Auslander’s new book, In Concert: Performing Musical Persona. Ferreira, a theatre scholar, spent his gap year as a young man playing the guitar. Ferreira brings his knowledge of both theatre and music to this conversation with Auslander. With this book, Auslander offers the reader a new approach to thinking about the performative aspects of music and how performers interact with their audiences.
Roe Ethridge was my student many decades ago at the now defunct Atlanta College of Art in Georgia. He was part of a group of young artists that I had the pleasure of working with and remaining in touch with many years after they graduated. I have the satisfaction of knowing Roe’s work from its beginnings and realizing that the roots of his art were present in our earliest conversations. His ideas about art are part of the history of art making, presented in photographs of still lifes, portraits, self-portraits, and landscapes. By balancing commercial and art photography, he continually remixes his vision and formats to create photographs that are welcoming, yet also put the viewer ill at ease. It was wonderful to be able to continue our conversation about his work. Somehow, the conversations we had decades ago are still relevant.
Nitzanah Griffin and David Humphrey dialogued via email about a new book on Humphrey’s work edited by Davy Lauterbach. When I asked Griffin to converse with Humphrey and vice versa, I was delighted to hear that they had met previously, briefly, at Humphrey’s last exhibition in Atlanta. Perhaps in these remote and zooming times, it is still important for the physical connection to be acknowledged. Humphrey’s paintings are true hybrids of figuration, abstraction, and a kind of pop sensibility. The connections to Davy Lauterbach are clear: Lauterbach is a painter and poet who also works in the television industry. He has been an assistant director on The Simpsons and has worked on other animated shows.
To come full circle with all these connections, David Humphrey is also a musician and often plays gigs that include his painter spouse, Jennifer Coates as well as with other artists.
In these pandemic times, we can connect virtually; we can continue to share ideas and create work; we can zoom, and email and read, write, paint, sing, dance, and pause.
Editor in Chief
The Art Section
Deanna Sirlin is an artist and writer from Brooklyn, New York currently living and working outside of Atlanta, Georgia.