8/7 - 11/20, 2015: "FiftyOneBowie" Portraits by Mark Dethrow
Free & open to the public during gallery hours
Portraits by Mark Dethrow
On display 8/7 - 11/20, 2015
About / Artist Statement:
As an artist, it would be hard to find someone more visually interesting to depict 51 times than David Bowie. There is definitely a wealth of source material to choose from. The title of the show refers to the number of portraits included in the exhibit and also the number of years that Bowie has been a recording artist. His first single, “Liza Jane,” recorded under the name Davy Jones and The King Bees, was released in 1964.
This exhibit consists of three sections. The first section includes two paintings that were completed
earlier: “83/South Pacific” was painted in my second year of college and “73/Stardust” is part of a series of 100 portraits of legendary musicians that I began in 2005. This section also contains a small drawing, “Iceman,” 2015, depicting the graphic on the first David Bowie shirt that I purchased 27 years ago.
The other two sections are works that were completed this year. Section number two includes the piece, “(David Bowie I Love You) Since I Was Six,” which is a 30 panel group of portraits based on Bowie’s album covers. I cropped and adjusted some of the original images to convey a more traditional portrait style, and since the images are all “borrowed” from other artists, I decided to borrow the title for this piece from a song title off of The Brian Jonestown Massacre’s “Take It From The Man” album. Another part of this second section is a group of five small drawings that represent other record covers that weren’t included in the paintings.
The third section includes six drawings that depict the different fashion styles that Bowie has been known for over his entire career and seven paintings that focus on the various media that he used to bring these looks to the public, including film, television, stage performance, music video, magazines, and record company promotional photographs.
I first began drawing portraits of Bowie back in the mid 1980’s, particularly during my first year of college. For some source material, I borrowed a David Bowie visual biography from the school library for an extended period of time. I remember clearly sketching the cover of Bowie’s 1973 LP, “Pin Ups,” from this book when my design professor came up and referred to me as a “wrist,” which apparently meant that I could draw anything representational, but was lacking in originality. This moment from almost 30 years ago occurred to me after I began the first of the album cover portraits, which coincidentally happened to be “Pin Ups,” and I began to wonder if some would have the same reaction if I exhibited this series.