Project Title: Contrectus
Project Subtitle: #MeToo Portrait Collection
I seek to create a collection of portraits of women whom are part of the #MeToo movement. This collection will include a minimum of 36 portraits, and a maximum of 54 portraits, intended to be shown all on one wall, or in a manner that visually communicates volume through quantity and repetition. All of the women will be drawn/rendered in the same style, and at life size.
Each woman will be photographed in an identical studio environment. Each portrait will be rendered similar to the example (left), with each woman making eye contact with the camera/viewer (not in profile view, like the example). Each portrait will be as similar as possible in the execution and display. Only the woman will be rendered in the portrait, and their apparel will be “left unfinished” and the same value as the background, similar to the unfinished drawing example (left). Each portrait will be framed individually so that each woman’s is given space to story to stand alone. The collection will be unified through the commonalities in creation of the portraits, the framing, and display.
Latin Definition for: contrectus, contrecta, contrectum
violated; dishonored; touched carnally; stolen, purloined, taken by stealth
We treat women as objects, which we abuse, and then shame into silence. I want for this collection of work to create a space safe for our stories and experiences, without having to share or justify the details of our traumas. I also want for the volume of the body of the work of portraits to create dis-ease and tension in contrast with the individual beauty of women represented. By removing the opportunity to learn about the details of our traumas, the ability to judge the individual is also removed: we cannot dispute, or invalidate these women or their experiences, and we cannot judge these women, or ask them to justify themselves. Their truth is the truth, and together we are heard, we are loud.
I have experienced violation through the force of men who placed their greed and desires above everything else. I neither wanted, nor chose these experiences. Speaking about the injustice of sexual assault that has happened to me doesn’t work: I had to fight to be believed, and even then I was belittled, invalidated, and accused. The truth became only my truth. This is a battle that no woman with this trauma has the energy to fight because in doing so she is minimized, disregarded and blamed.
Truth is not subjective. When the truth is horrifying our society seeks to blame as a means to justify and create closure for individuals and groups, removing a chance for blame of themselves. Self reflection is painful and challenging, and not taken on easily: blame is much more satisfying, and quick to move on from. It is easiest to blame the weakest, even if the weakest is only weak because of lifetimes of prejudgement. Consent is not open to interpretation.
For a woman who chooses to come forward, her fight for the truth is an experience of atonement for an injustice forced on her, her safety stolen, her path abruptly changed and not chosen.
I want my voice to be heard, and I want to help others be heard. Through the creation of this collection I seek understanding of my own trauma as well as the connection to others who survive and endure as I do.
Currently Seeking Subjects
I'm currently seeking women in the Bay Area would would be willing to participate in my portrait project. Please feel free to contact me directly at: firstname.lastname@example.org or using the form here.
Final Project Specifications
Sanded charcoal portraits on Rives BFK Printmaking Paper.
Studio photographs of each subject, with a smooth, grey backdrop and Single light source— feathered glamor light.
Subjects will be asked to wear a button-down blouse, preferably darker in color to reduce reflecting-light
Women who art part of the #MeToo movement, who are willing to participate in the project.
I want to show as many faces as possible, and that we exist in every color, shape and size.
Title of the Body of Work
Subtitle: #MeToo Portrait Collection
Individual Piece Titles:
All pieces will be titled starting with "Contrectus, Subject No. __" and a number will be added following the order that they are created.
16x16 inches. Subjects will be life sized.
All pieces will be identically framed in a black shadow box, mounted to black linen mat board.
20x20 inch shadow-box frame, where the print is pulled back from the glass, giving forced space between subject and observer.
Framed with Museum glass.
This collection will be done in phases of 9 portraits in each phase. A minimum of 4 phases will occur (36 portraits), but ultimately I’d like to do more: 54 portraits.
Completion in two years from Project Start for 36 portraits.