David Weinberg, Galatea Fine Art Opening, January 3, 2020 Photo: George Shaw
Face to Face
Written By Jeannine Hunter Lazzaro
This show of work by David Weinberg asks the viewer to look deep inside and consider one’s self. Who are you and WHY are you, YOU? The beauty of these photographs at first might cause you to miss this part of the experience, as the photographs grab you visually with a kind of double take. Images overlapping one another and yet coalescing into a single image, but which image is true? For they both seem to exist on a plane of their own, evenly, one not dominating the other. Two faces combined to make one image, or one portrait made from two images. Which?
David clearly wants the viewer to question one’s self, evident from the bible quote he mentions in his comments on this exhibition:
For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face:
now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.
(1 Corinthians 13:12 KJV)
David Weinberg, Male Role Model (Gable), 15×12 in., photograph
A previous exhibit of Weinberg’s work at this gallery, If You Could See What I See (May 2019), suggested an earlier exploration of this idea. This exhibition’s title alone hints at seeing what may not be there — and yet, what the artist sees. Similarly, a portrait photograph in that previous show, Face -Object #1, is manipulated to exaggerate certain features, allowing him to free the subject’s expression. We may also want to note that Weinberg’s Still Life compositions seen on the gallery’s website speak of a search for spiritual peace in the everyday. The dark background and the meticulous arrangements help to convey a depth and a sense of peace.
In the current show, Weinberg’s portraits convey many a social theme, visually without the aid of a narrative. For instance, the portrait Masculinity Role Model (Gable), concisely expresses the confusion often felt by young boys, concerning gender roles manufactured by Hollywood. An earlier time but still as relevant.
David Weinberg, Inner Child, 15×12 in., photograph
Weinberg’s portrait Inner Child refers to a New Age term in vogue and heard so often, it is almost cliché. Yet the simplicity of the image bespeaks a true personal discovery, almost as if the term were invented expressly for this portrait. The artist’s young face, superimposed on a fleeting image remaining of himself, conveys how Weinberg feels about entering the adult world. This alludes to the adage that we are all children in some ways. His “childness” has remained exposed, or to quote Picasso: “Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once we grow up.”
A group of portraits, such as The Poet (Homer), presents another side of the artist. An image of Weinberg superimposed over a bust of Homer can be read as a comment on the poetic nature, which is in us all.
David Weinberg, Homer, 15×12 in., photograph
Similarly, the photographs Inner Poet (Homer), Deity (Zeus), and Great Leader (Caesar Augustus) refer to common archetypes and are utilized as mask-like elements over photographs of the artist. They masterfully evoke in the viewer a kind of a poetic and archetypal feeling and experience.
Shadow #1, is a portrait composite that combines David’s photograph with a drawing done by his wife, the artist Louise Weinberg. This is one of many possibilities that abound for this fascinating technique.
The composite process that David uses for these portraits is basically a method of superimposing one image over another. That simplifies an otherwise complicated and laborious process. These photographs are not a creation of Photoshop… though It may appear so at first. Weinberg’s previous career as a scientific pathologist provided him with the habit of looking at things very closely. Although his choice of using this technique of superimposition for portraiture is unique, it compelled him to be less perfectionist and to loosen control over his medium and subject, “making use of happenstance,” as he mentioned in a conversation about his work. Since the pieces are created as a single exposure, the process of the estimation of spacing alone, without the aid of Photoshop, boggles the mind – as the two images need to be “registered” precisely together, and the possibility of miscalculation and the resultant discordance is high.
Here is how Weinberg outlines his quest in a statement on his art: “….I am drawn to some visual mystery, some mystical quality that can provide a path toward spirituality and self-discovery…”. This artist’s continuous search for deeper meaning, spirituality and self-discovery in this exhibition is readily apparent and beautifully realized – and would clearly be inspiring to any attentive viewer.
David Weinberg, Face to Face, January 2020. Visit Galatea Fine Artat 460 Harrison Avenue, #B-6, Boston, MA 02118, 616-542-1500. Gallery hours Wednesday-Sunday 12-5pm and by appointment.