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Lori Loveberry George
Selections from In Your Face – the power of portraiture
No. 1858 III
The Patricia Thompson Gallery is currently hosting recent work by Lori Loveberry George who studied printmaking at Ringling School of Art and Design in 1983. Thirteen mixed media works were selected from a series Loveberry has been working on this year.
The artist states “The series is called: In Your Face, the Power of Portraiture and was inspired by a book of early 20th century portraits Loveberry found in the library. Pictures From a Drawer, Prison and the Art of Portraiture by Bruce Jackson included small prison ID photos that were digitally restored and enlarged by the author. Professor Jackson serendipitously acquired 121 photos during a 1970’s photography documentation project at Cummins Unit, an Arkansas state prison farm.” The artist continues “Most of the 121 photos have numbers however, none have names. Women and men, young and old, black and white, are dressed in prison stripes, suits and hats, and ill-fitting, tattered clothing.” Many questions came to her mind. “Who are they? What was their crime? What is their story? What impact would the portraits have if they were larger than life size?"
Loveberry states “I am interested in capturing essence: that primal unspoken language that connects us all, essence beyond race, ethnicity, or socioeconomic status. These portraits are mirrors that compel us to contemplate flaws, scars, and vulnerability. They are unsettling to look at or fearful to acknowledge. I present these pieces larger than life-size to command attention and directly confront viewers. Just as the subjects were prisoners in the past, we are all prisoners of our own twenty-first century making."
Loveberry adds “Although I do not know the extent of their crimes, I needed to portray their human dignity that was most likely stripped of them when they were incarcerated. There are no surviving records of who they are or what they did. They are just a number, pinned on their clothing for an ID photo. How does their loss of identity compare with contemporary society numbering us for identification? How do their faces reflect our own?”
About her process Loveberry states, “I began with sketches, most of which are drawn upside-down, some finished right-side up. In the larger pieces I construct and build form on paper and canvas with layers of paint, wax, charcoal, and acrylic. Then deconstruction begins with fingernails, hands, sandpaper, erasers, and various carpentry tools in order to reconstruct and uncover the image again. I am passionate about exploring the essence of the human condition through improvisation and spontaneity of emotive line making and the study of form.”
The power of these works is in the confrontation the viewer has with them. Anonymous though they are Loveberry has taken inspiration from photographs of individuals who were arrested for a crime we know nothing about. The camera may have captured their likeness in a one shot attempt, however, Loveberry seems to have made a psychological connection as she has contemplated aspects of the subject’s physiognomy to sharpen the focus or inspection of these photographs. Loveberry provides us with a vast array of portraits of the human condition including fear, introspection and resignation.
- Mark Ormond – Curator of Exhibitions, Ringling College Galleries
Award winning visual artist Lori Loveberry George is a 2008 graduate of Eckerd College with a BA in visual art, and a 1983 graduate of Ringling College of Art and Design as a printmaking major. Originally from Michigan, she attended Kendall College of Art and Design in Grand Rapids. She is a teaching artist with Sarasota County Schools and Sarasota County Libraries, and a member of the Association of Florida Teaching Artists (AFTA). She is actively involved in the community and local school art projects. Lori owns a decorative painting business in Sarasota, Florida, and continues to create and teach visual art at her Sarasota studio.
For more information about Lori Loveberry George:
To learn more about Bruce Jackson’s 40 years of American prison documentation, and to view the original photographs from his book, please visit www.acsu.buffalo.edu/~bjackson/
The Patricia Thompson Gallery is located in the Keating Center and features the work of Ringling College of Art + Design alumni.
Gallery Hours: 8:30am - 4pm, Monday through Friday. CLOSED Saturday and Sunday.
Norine Zapata, Class of 1974, Recent paintings August 9 through September 29, 2009
Craig Rubadoux, Class of 1959, - Paintings May 28 through August 8, 2009
Cindy Mason, Class of 2003, - recent paintings April 10 through May 27, 2009
William Hartman, Class of 1949, - paintings April 2008 through April 8, 2009
John Hardy - Paintings