Joan Semmel

Heads

2007–13

Self-Portrait #1, 2010

Oil on canvas

48h x 36w in (121.92h x 91.44w cm)

Untitled, 2007

Oil On Canvas

22h x 22w in (55.88h x 55.88w cm)

Untitled, 2007

Oil On Canvas

16h x 16w in (40.64h x 40.64w cm)

Self-Portrait #4, 2010

Oil On Canvas

48h x 36w in (121.92h x 91.44w cm)

Untitled, 2010

Oil On Canvas

48h x 36w in (121.92h x 91.44w cm)

Description

Joan Semmel’s Heads (2007—13) feature self-portraits of the artist. Unlike Semmel’s previous self-images, in these works she paints just her face. Intimate in scale and rendered in a variety of styles, these paintings adopt both the realism of her earlier With Camera works (2001—06), as well as the blurring of her Shifting Images compositions (2006—13). In a recent interview, Semmel elaborated on her decision to begin to paint the Heads. She outlined, “The way I started doing the heads was by taking those pictures in the mirror, and even though I didn’t usually use the heads I got it in the mirror because I’d hold the camera at waist level. Not always, but sometimes, so I got the face. Then I would take the heads off that picture—I didn’t shoot for the head, but I like the head that I got.”