Dutch female specimen: J, 2013; 28"w x 34" h x 3.5" d; photographic prints, insect pins, pinning foam, gelatin capsules, glass vials, test tubes, paint samples, cast resin, magnifying boxes, plastic specimen bags, cotton thread.
When I see something by an artist that makes me wonder just what, exactly, I'm looking at, I know that I'm going to end up wanting more. And as you can probably imagine from Michael Mapes' specimens from the "Dutch Master collection" series, that was exactly my reaction to these works. At once fascinating, beautiful and not a little creepy, Mapes' collages of famous 17th century Dutch portraits are as wonderful to behold in the micro - with their thousands of dissected photos and materials that range from bits of hair to costume jewelry - as they are in the macro, where they're recognizable as portraiture.
Dutch female specimen: J (detail)
case no. 1627; female-Dutch; 2013; 29"w x 13" h x 3" d; photographic prints, insect pins, pinning foam, gelatin capsules, glass vials.
Dutch specimen MT2; 2013; 28"w x 34" h x 3.5" d; photographic prints, insect pins, pinning foam, gelatin capsules, glass vials, painted canvas, cast resin, pill organizer, plastic specimen bags, antique optometrist lens, cartography pins, cotton thread, magnification boxes, fake pearls.
Dutch specimen MT1639 (detail)
As the subjects of the paintings are divorced from their original context, which is to say the figure is dissected from the painting, the hierarchy of perception shifts from the subject as painting to that as person. Working with highly recognizeably source material maintains a strong connection to the orginal painting, which allows me to further abstract the reconstruction without losing an essential connection to the fact it is a painting as much as a person.See more on Mapes' website.