Artist's Statement
I'm more interested in the presence of my subjects than in their biographies. It's my feeling that the terms we use to rationalize our understanding of each other aren't as meaningful as the experience of being together in the same room. Somehow, the ways that people carry themselves, the projection or withdrawal of their emotions, and their level of engagement in their surroundings give me more of a foundation for drawing a sitter than the information on their resume.

I don't think of myself as a portraitist because I'm always willing to change a likeness to make a more compelling experience in a painting. Still, I'm attracted to the format of portraiture because it complicates the expectations that viewers have about Art. A portrait doesn't make a statement that can be understood with finality. The meaning of any life is an open question.

It seems that as a society we are choosing to distance ourselves physically from each other more and more. In this context, it’s significant that the basic practice of my work is to bring people I don’t know very well into my studio and give them my complete attention for a few hours. This process has been more rewarding than I could have imagined when I began, and if I can get even a small part of my actual experience into the paint then I’ll consider this work a success.


 


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 Jim RohalSan Francisco, CA415-871-5069

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