Seeing Double: Paired Portraits

Jessica Ford and Lucrezia Panciatichi (after Agnolo Bronzino) acrylic on dibond panel, 28″h x 45″w

Laara Cassells, a painter, sculptor and one-time costume and theatre set designer, found inspiration for her current exhibition while teaching an art history class. She creates double portraits by pairing a copy of a historical painting with contemporary subjects wearing headphones, or holding phones or computers.

Thomas and A Portrait of a Youth (after Anne-Louis Girodet de Roussy-Trioson) acrylic on dibond panel 26″h x 40″w

“I saw a student holding her cell phone and her hands looked just like an old master’s painting … of a lady holding a book,” she told Galleries West. “As a teacher of art history, I have this data bank of thousands of pictures in my mind.”

Jessica Hayward and Grace Orpen (after William Orpen) acrylic on dibond panel, 28″h x 39″w

Working with digital reference material and live models, Cassells re-stages and combines historic portraits painted by painters from the past 600 years with a contemporary young person choreographed to resemble and interact with the historic subject – exhibition notes, Whyte Museum of the Canadian Rockies

“Jessica Day and Empress Elisabeth Alexeievna (after Elisabeth Louise Vigée Lebrun),” 2015 acrylic on Dibond panel

See the entire series on Laara Cassells’ website, here.

An essay on the series, here.

An interview with the artist in Galleries West, here.

The exhibition runs through June 9 at the Whyte Museum of the Canadian Rockies.

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