Image above: ©Bear Kirkpatrick; Jessica: The Elizabeth Phoenix, 2014. Courtesy of Daniel Cooney Fine Art Gallery.
Daniel Cooney Fine Art presented on May 21st the New York debut solo exhibition of large-scale color photographic portraits by Bear Kirkpatrick. In his heavily manipulated studio portraits Kirkpatrick explores the invisible and unkown personal histories of his sitters. Kirkpatrick's portraits reveal subtleties that can only be learned by observing unspoken language and listening to one's intuition.
©Bear Kirkpatrick; Collin: The Birth of Venus, 2014. Courtesy of Daniel Cooney Fine Art Gallery.
As a young boy the artist lost his hearing over the course of a year. His mind and boyd compensated for this loss in order to survive and his parents did not immediately notice the disability. He learned to read lips and understand body language and visual cues to navigate his way in the world. This situation combined with an active imagination introduced the young Kirkpatrick to visions of strange beings living inside the bodies of his parents. The strangers were very real and alive to the child, as he understood the world at the time. As multiple surgeries rectified the deafness his newly developed and unique way of seeing remained.
©Bear Kirkpatrick; Elizabeth, 2014. Courtesy of Daniel Cooney Fine Art Gallery.
In his studio, as Kirkpatrick applies mud, feathers, dead bugs and other assorted materials on his subject's skin and hair he listens to their stories. They reveal their experiences and he uses his imagination to see what lies below the surface. he imagines a history and another level of consciousness that might exist beyond our own. The images are reality and fantasy blended together.