For the viewer, the focus in my modified pictures shifts away from being the expression of an individual and towards the integration of painting in a social context. The “Hidden Portraits” examine the context of art as a means of representation and the relationship between image and individual.
Ten years in the making, Hidden Portraits reinterprets historical paintings through a modern lens. Using only elements from the original work, contemporary artist Volker Hermes visually manipulates famous Old Masters portraits, exploring expression when the face is obscured.
My collages are based on historical drawings of animals, either from early scientific expeditions or natural history studies. Using image processing, I transform individual parts of the drawn animal bodies into geometric shapes. In a final step, I combine the original drawing and the polyhedron to create a hybrid new animal.
The historical drawings are pre-studies for paintings or exercises. I painted polyhedric forms as watercolors and inserted them in a digital collage as a head in the drawings. Previously pure geometric constructs, become emotionally charged when combined with studies of the human body.