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“What was to become, became, and is now a focused direction,” surmises Ken Bloom, director of the Tweed Museum of Art. Bloom has watched the work of regional artist Anne Labovitz for many years and says that right now her philosophy and work are unified, making this exhibit, “Anne Labovitz: Composite Portraits” a breakthrough.
Her portraits are composites of many images sandwiched together. She combines paintings with a 4 x 4 woodcut (“…bigger than a human head, creating its own intensity,” says Labovitz.) It’s visceral, tactile, manual labor, taking 36 hours or more per block, of which there are many within each portrait.
Bloom says part of the appeal of this exhibit is regional, Labovitz is connected with the Duluth community and Duluth has a strong coalition of woodcut artists.
The subject of “Composite Portraits” also fits the Tweed’s focus. Portraiture is an important part of the Tweed collection. But Bloom says this exhibit pushes the boundaries of this traditional style.
Labovitz likens her work to an archeological dig; each layer is isolated with liquid plastic, preserving it as a building block for the next layer. By doing this, the portrait shows the layers of one’s life. “It’s profoundly important for me to have building blocks for portraits,” explains Labovitz.
But the preservation of layers, documenting and holding, isn’t meant as a message of permanence. In fact, Labovitz sometimes obliterates a layer before building upon it. Only she knows this happened and it’s an important part of the portrait’s story, even if the evidence isn’t visible to someone looking at her art.
To Labovitz, the process is a deeply personal exploration of identity. The portraits she creates aren’t meant to be a photographic likeness. Instead she looks at portraits as reflections of relationships. “The artist isn’t neutral,” she says.
Not surprising, given the amount of time she spends thinking about human relationships, she has a bachelor of arts in Psychology. “That interest in human psyche is who I am.” Being an artist is also omnipresent, “like breathing,” Labovitz explains, “I don’t disconnect with my artistic sense ever. There’s no separation."
Labovitz’s continuous connection with her art and Bloom recognizing her breakthrough work are two elements that fused together to create: Anne Labovitz, Composite Portraits.
The exhibit is sponsored by Fitger's Brewhouse Brewery and Grille, Security Jewelers, The Edge Pilates Studio, Otis-Magie Insurance Agency, Inc., Holiday Inn & Suites, Maurices, Nash Frame Design, Clean Water Land & Legacy Amendment, and the Minnesota State Arts Board.
Anne Labovitz | Composite Portraits
Tuesday, June 4 – Sunday, August 11
Thursday, June 6 from 5 – 8 p.m.
With Anne Labovitz on Friday, June 7 from 1 – 4 p.m.
Saturday, August 3 from 1 – 2 p.m.
All events are free and open to the public.
Story written by Lori C. Melton, firstname.lastname@example.org
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