One of my friends Geoff Howell recently completed the largest ever portrait of Slava and I. Over the last few months, we posed live while Geoff created a larger than life 6 x 6 foot charcoal portrait he entitled "Bright Future". It will be premiered next week in a group exhibition (that my own artwork is also a part of) called Drawn Together at the Leslie Lohman gallery here in New York.
Geoff's artist Statement for this piece:
Bright Future, portrait of Brian Kenny and Slava Mogutin (2010)
Charcoal on vellum, taped together.
Started in June of 2009, and complete in January 2010, this is the largest drawing he has done in this series, and it is drawn completely from life. Originally, Howell started working on one drawing per 14x17 sheet of paper. As he began to draw in larger scale, he simply added more sheets of paper, taping them together, carefully considering the layout as part of the piece. The tape was going to be a temporary solution, but as he continued with this media, the multi sheets of paper held together by tape started to take on a life of their own, and became for the artist a representation of the many facets of the individuals he draws-of how we hold ourselves, and our relationships with others ,together and how simple and sometimes how fragile that bond is. The multiple sheets of paper also allow us to perceive the person in the drawing more in parts than as a whole.
Brian Kenny and Slava Mogutin have been together for over 5 years, and I have known them for over four. I have seen their relationship in many aspects-rough times, great joy, terrific accomplishments. They are both uniquely and famously talented individuals in their own right, Slava as an internationally acclaimed, published and collected photographer, and Brian as an artist, also avidly collected and shown in galleries and museums the world over. Together they collaborate on yet a third level, a partnership called SUPERM , creating something exciting and totally different that goes far beyond either photography or drawing. Their exceptional installation multimedia art has also received many critical accolades. In my representation of them in Bright Future they are drawn together, facing outward into the world, not expending their energies introspectively, as a closed circuit, but their very independent and combined energies creating a strong force, shining outward, making a difference in the world and looking ever forward.