Eyfells' stylistic and imaginative approach to portraiture is resourceful
and energetic. Thumbing through magazines she looks for memorable
physiognomies, for the reality and unreality of appearance; she
studies biographical and autobiographical materials. In the end,
her lexicon of famed faces is derived from magazine photographs
(hence, the flatness and hardness of her visages), biography, and
her interpretation of the two. Of course, photography is a dynamic
that others have used for the portait, ike Andy Warhol or contemporary
artist Chuck Close. Unlike Warhol or Close, however, she does not
personally know her subjects, yet they are known to her.
Eyfels does not talk about her work, about the hows, the whys: "Painting
is action, not words, not an object," she says. "How can
people talk about something that can be expressed only by doing."
portrait in Western art is well-documented. It has been used to
celebrate the subject's social and political status, marriage and
family ties, and at times used to memorialize a subject posthumously.
For Halldorsdottir Eyfells, her "characters" are a personal
response to eminent members of society; for us, they are paintings
by an artist spiritually and aesthetically endowed. If they lack
the delicacy of poetry, they have the strength of prose. And to
those looking at these "famous faces" with an open eye
and a thinking heart, they demonstrate vitality and invention. And
added to this, they show us a remarkable woman who is an artist
first and foremost.
Martin, Jr., Ph.D.
University of Central Florida
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