24 x 18 in.
Charcoal on paper
Available through the artist
Portrait artist Lisa Kovvuri announces the launch of her new series of portraits: Beyond Appearances.
Building on the success of her most recent solo exhibition, The Portrait Experience at the Whistler House Museum of Art, Artist Lisa Kovvuri is taking the genre of portrait painting to a personal level. Beyond representing a likeness, her new series serves as a catalyst for making connections and getting at the heart of what it means to be human. She’s taking a hiatus from painting commissioned portraits to embrace her desire to paint people in a context that can address the emotional and psychological experiences we all share.
“In my new series the focus is on emotional presence more than a person’s identity. The sitters inspire ideas about states of mind and emotional moments we can all recognize. I see these portraits as a kind of mirror of humanity. The models I’ve recruited represent a diverse range of backgrounds and cultures. I’m particularly drawn to people who I don’t typically encounter in my usual circles, people I can learn something from. Painting them bridges a gap for me. It cultivates empathy, and that’s an important personal aspect of my work.“
Although the new portraits strive to go beyond appearances, they depict appearances in a remarkable way. Departing from the more impressionist-leaning approach of her earlier work, these emphasize more sculptural form, texture, intricate detail and attention to surfaces, offering viewers a much more intimate experience of the subject’s presence.
“That feeling of intimacy is important to me. I want people to be able to get up close and engage their senses, to feel free of barriers that may otherwise be there in real life.”
Still in its early stage, the series is expected to culminate in approximately 25 to 30 new works. A Poet, the charcoal piece pictured above, is one of a selection of drawings that have been released and are available now through the artist. Stay tuned for the paintings!
Lisa will begin sharing work for Beyond Appearances in her e-newsletter on May 15. Sign up for her newsletter to follow her progress and be sure to get a first viewing of each piece fresh off the easel. See more of Lisa’s work on her website lisakovvuri.com and by following @lisakovvuri on Instagram.