The first thing you notice about the new art installation by Ken Fandell at the SPARC Gallery is the pure scale. There is something intriguing about seeing the familiarity of the human face at this scale. We all see dozens of human faces every day – but they are all more or less the same size as our own face. It’s a completely different experience to be viewing a human face with such hugeness and detail that you can literally read the diopter notation on the contact lens in the eye of the subject. Pores and facial hairs become texture and landmarks on the landscape of each face.
The process for generating these mega-portraits requires each subject to hold perfectly still for about five minutes as a mechanical arm hovers just inches from the face. Slowly the mechanism floats a camera with a macro lens across each section of the face – creating a number of discrete photos in a grid. This mosaic of photos is then electronically “stitched” together to create one seamless image of the face. The process is similar to that used by NASA to create images of planets from a series of discrete images.
Mr. Fandell has produced 12 of his large scale portraits to date, and 5 were selected for the exhibit in South Pasadena.
The artist himself welcomed visitors on September 8th to the SPARC Gallery during a lively reception and discussed his portraits on display, “I felt they needed to be big. The scale was important – you had see all the detail. I wanted to have that relationship to your body – the portraits are as big as us. I picked these particular portraits because I liked the variety of people.”
Ken Fandell is also currently a professor at Harvey Mudd College in Claremont where he occupies the Michael G. and C. Jane Wilson Chair in Arts and the Humanities. His work has appeared in a wide variety of prestigious museums and galleries including: the Art Institute of Chicago, the Brooklyn Museum of Art and the Museum of Modern Art in New York.
Mr. Fandell’s latest exhibit is entitled ‘Sarah, Mary, Kori, Tom, Emma: Portraits by Ken Fandell’ and will run from September 1st – November 9th, 2018 at the SPARC Gallery located within the South Pasadena Chamber of Commerce Building at 1121 Mission Street in South Pasadena. The gallery hours are 10:00 am – 5:00 pm Tuesday through Friday.
To learn more about Ken Fandell and his art please visit: kendfandell.com.