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  • Sheldon White


Emma Flaire’s piece, Henry presents a depiction of an aging man with a sense of dignified wisdom and resolve. The man, presumably named Henry, is depicted with an intimacy that of which could only be derived from a knowledge so innate with detail and history as one in the immediate, is presented to us with poise and respect-demanding form. The piece’s composition draws into the folds of flesh that composes the countenance of the subject. These ridges and caverns carved into his face are not ones of disfigurement, but of vulcanized character. The galvanization of age is shown upon the rendition of a man at ease. The oils of piece accentuate age, and the dynamism of the face’s natural contours ebb toward a culmination of character evident upon the gaze emanating from the piece.

As a writer, I am drawn to the subject of the piece itself. I used this piece, and another submitted by Emma Flaire in a generative exercise based of derivative origin in my own productions. I found my impression of reserved platitude, and the implication of a lifetime of labor to be of great potential for exploration. I focused, in my generative ventures, on the way the piece evoked a sense of demand for respect. The man in the piece gazes with authority at whatever meets his weathered gaze. I wrote extensively on the concept of virtue in labor and the continuance of genealogy through reproductive propagation. I find Emma Flaire to be adept at observing the qualities of an entire man, and the depiction of earnest and comprehensive depictions of the authentic.

I encourage those viewing the piece to look within at their own reservations and associations with that of which they derive parallels from the work of Emma Flaire. Once I was able to divorce myself from the physical limitations of the medium of the visual, and look to find the memories and values within the gaze of this man, and other works alongside it, I was able to articulate and expand upon that which might not have been acknowledged without the assistance of a visual catalyst by which to direct my inner evaluation of those individualistic abstractions.

A fantastic generative process by which I, and others have the potential to realize, is the disassembly of impressionistic conclusions as to the nature of the subject depicted in the piece, and the delving into the components of the derivative implication. The way the artist investigates the formlessness of Henry, and the sheer emotional intimacy evident in the care and detail put into constructing such a nuanced and specifically degraded face is the visual actualization of a memory, formulated from the impressions of a series of presumed interactions. She is, in a sense, immortalizing the impact the subject has on her through her close inspection of that which is common, and therefore making it evidence of a much greater understanding of universality in common interaction.

Emma Flaire’s interpretation of this impression is evident in her apparent dismemberment of her memory’s account, and restructure of a far more connection inviting representation of a stranger, whose intricacies are plainly and eloquently given to us through his face’s austere gaze.

- Sheldon White, Junior Fiction/CNF Editor

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