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Hi There Bob – On the Wilde Portrait Series Exhibit

Mar 20, 2019

As most people in town know, artist Pam Wilde spent a year painting a hundred or so portraits in the window of Artists Emporium on Washington Street. Beginning about half way through I bacame aware of this and began my – somewhat experimental – series of iPhone images of the artist and her victims. In B&W of course. I loved the interplay of the scene itself, the varing expressions and poses of the subjects and the different reflections of the town in the glass. I had a lot of fun (in more ways than one).

And like all projects like this, it was a learning experience. The iPhone camera, today's incarnation of the old film Brownie, can be a powerful tool (just make sure you get one of the good third party camera apps and shoot RAW). 

This past Saturday was the opening reception for the exhibit of all of the paintings. We would have made an appearance except for our personal connection to what was going on at the Opera House and afterwards at the Colored School Museum – see my last posting HERE for this story. We had originally intended to try and drop by the Wilde reception afterwards, but never had the opportunity.

So, I dropped in for a look Sunday. After all, I got a lot of side-car mileage out of Pam's project. First of all, props and kudos to Pam for tackling this. That is a lot of portraits in one year, and a lot of putting oneself on the line. The unique thing about Pam's series of portraits, other than the scope and venue, is that they are three-hour portraits – evidently that's a thing in the portrait world. The results depict what the artist saw in one three-hour sitting. That's interesting in itself. 

Art is always subjective and an invitation to critique. But it's not a photography exhibit, so it's certainly not for me to offer up anything of the sort. The portraits are hung beautifully, in a long rectangular grid that wraps around two corners. It's impressive. I recognized a number of people I know, some well. Others I recognize from my iPhone series. I do have a favorite – I love the one of Bob Greene shown above. I think it really captures him.

Subjects all received a print of their portrait, having the option to purchase the actual painting. Originally I planned to set myself up to be last in the series – at the end of my own efforts outside the window, somethng of a pressure from Nan – but at that point I was still banned from the Gallery, something that Nan took much more seriously than I – who actually pretty much enjoyed the whole thing. Still a bummer. I wonder what it would have looked like.

Anyway, the exhibit is definitely worth seeing. It’s a great exercise in looking for and at familiar faces. While one portrait is pretty much, whether true or not, a study of the subject, 100 side-by-side protratis become a reflection on the eye of the artist and what she puts into the seeing of her subjects. Just an idea for one way to view th exhibit. This was quite an accomplishment.


If anyone wants a mounted/matted 8x11 original print of themselves posing from my from-the-street iPhone series, just contact me here and I'll do it up and leave it for pick-up at RiverView Gallery next door to the Emporium (it might take a few days). The images are in two of the "albums" on my Havre de Grace Street page. I get a lot of joy giving these images out to my subjects (a couple of people, including Rebecca Jessop here, have already gotten theirs).