Moments With Mairead


Why Faces?

It was my senior year in high school for my AP Studio Art thesis when I really began to draw faces. They were realistic portraits, oil on canvas. The focus of my thesis project was to explore the stages of grief and how they can be expressed physically and emotionally in relation to the human portrait. I became engrossed in the human portrait, which way the eyes were gazing and why they were gazing that way. The lines on the face, the ones that came and went when we smiled and the ones that permanently made their place. The way people curl their lips under when they laugh really hard. Or if you only look at a persons eyes, I mean really look, you can see how they truly feel.

Realistic portraits were frustrating for me. I didn't love the idea of creating something that we could already see. I gravitate towards faces in a different way now. Although my faces are abstract they typically contain the predominant characteristics of the human portrait - two eyes, a nose, ears, lips, and sometimes the figure. It is the way that each of these characteristics are represented and interact with one another that sets the mood for the piece of work.

There is a thin line between humans being relatable and also strikingly different. My faces remind me that we humans are all the same when it comes down to the bare bones. In some degree or another, we are all born with two eyes, a nose, ears, lips and some type of figure. However, all of these similar characteristics are what set us apart. Some of us have a narrow nose, wide set eyes, wrinkles, thick lips, high set cheek bones, I mean I could go on and on. What I'm trying to say is, we seem to forget that these differences among the things we all share, this is what makes us individually beautiful.

Ultimately, beauty is an abstract idea and I strive to present that idea in an abstract way. Just like my faces, we are all crafted differently, uniquely. I want to remind people that it's not about the physical appearance which makes us beautiful, but about how uniquely crafted we all are. It's not about striving for a "perfect" figure, but embracing the one we have. It's about emotions, big and small. It's about the role the unconscious mind plays in our daily lives. It's about the decisions we make. It's about memories. It's about our expressions. It's about how we see each other, and it's about how we see ourselves.


Mairead Zigulich