Sometimes, it’s not about what’s being said, it’s about what isn’t. Such is the case with Lucy Pass’ portraits. Describing herself as a “kind of anti-portrait maker,” her work features fragments of faces, poking holes in the very idea of portraiture. “The piece is then no longer about the face looking back at us, but about the feelings that it stirs and what that means about us,” Pass explains on her website.
Indeed, the finished piece invites the viewer to fill in the blanks, stressing the fractured nature of truth and the power of interpretation. “I try not to impose a clear cut narrative on the viewer,” says Pass. “My aim is to illicit an emotional response without dictating to the viewer what they should or shouldn’t be feeling.”
Based in the UK, her creative process relies on references from found photos of strangers, with particular focus on ambiguous or what seems like neutral expressions. “The unknown subject and therefore his or her unknown emotions have become an important aspect in my work,” she writes, “where I, in turn, find myself instinctively attempting to read the individual – something which gradually becomes apparent in my treatment of the work.”
The winner of the John Ruskin Prize in 2019 and the Portrait Artist of the Year 2019, Pass’ portraits are slowly but surely gathering momentum. Take a look for yourself: