One Minute Film Festival Aarau Switzerland

The Carol: A Talking Portrait exhibited at the 2007 One Minute Film Festival of Aarau Switzerland.

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The Carol: A Talking Portrait video was exhibited at the One Minute Film Festival of Aarau Switzerland  in August 17-19, 2007.

One Minute Film & Video Festival Aarau

The Festival continues to put a strict focus on one minute films. Ihe international one-minute film festival challenges filmmakers, writers, animators, artists, designers, and creative producers to develop and submit the world’s best one-minute films.

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Aarau Switzerland

Aarau is the capital of the northern Swiss canton of Aargau. The town is also the capital of the district of Aarau. It is German-speaking and predominantly Protestant. Aarau is situated on the Swiss plateau, in the valley of the Aare, on the river’s right bank, and at the southern foot of the Jura mountains, and is west of Zürich, and 65 kilometres (40 mi) northeast of Bern. The municipality borders directly on the canton of Solothurn to the west. It is the second-largest town in Aargau after Wettingen. At the beginning of 2010 Rohr became a suburb of Aarau. The official language of Aarau is German, but the main spoken language is the local variant of the Alemannic Swiss German dialect.

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Aarau Switzerland‘s Notable residents

Albert Einstein (1879–1955), scientist. In 1895, at the age of 16, Einstein sat the entrance examinations for the Swiss Federal Polytechnic in Zürich. He failed to reach the required standard in the general part of the examination, but obtained exceptional grades in physics and mathematics. On the advice of the principal of the Polytechnic, he attended the Argovian cantonal school in Aarau, Switzerland, in 1895–96 to complete his secondary schooling. While lodging with the family of professor Jost Winteler, he fell in love with Winteler’s daughter, Marie. In January 1896, with his father’s approval, Einstein renounced his citizenship in the German Kingdom of Württemberg to avoid military service. In September 1896, he passed the Swiss Matura with mostly good grades, including a top grade of 6 in physics and mathematical subjects, on a scale of 1–6. Though only 17, he enrolled in the four-year mathematics and physics teaching diploma program at the Zürich Polytechnic. Marie Winteler moved to Olsberg, Switzerland, for a teaching post.

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Carol: A Talking Portrait

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Carol: A Talking Portrait

British High Commission, Ottawa Ontario

Trudeau Talking Portraits, Sago Palms and Jeweled Body Parts  exhibited at British High Commission’s 2007 Art in the Garden party.

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Pierre Trudeau by Sherry Tompalski

The Trudeau Talking Portraits along with the Sago Palms and Jeweled Body Parts series were exhibited at the British High Commission in Ottawa Canada in the summer of 2007. The  Art in the Garden group show was organized by Mrs. Clare Cary, spouse of the British High Commissioner, in conjunction with the Elizabeth Fry Society of Ottawa and the show was curated by Elaine Sa

Mrs. Clare Cary, spouse of the British High Commissioner, in conjunction with the Elizabeth Fry Society of Ottawa, invites you to the 10th anniversary of Art in the Garden. Held in the historic gardens of Earnscliffe, home of Canada’s first Prime Minister, Sir John A. Macdonald, this 150-year-old property is the perfect back-drop for an evening of music, wine, food and art.

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Sir John A by Sherry Tompalski

From the British High Commision’s 2007 Press Release

This year we are pleased to have as our honoured guest the Rt. Hon. Chief Justice Beverley McLachlin. Engage your senses! Enjoy the New York-style jazz harmonies of Rob Frayne, Garry Elliott, and Petr Cancura.

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Rt. Hon. Chief Justice Beverley McLachlin

Sip on cool wine and tantalize your palette with mouth-watering canapés as you walk through the elegant gardens of Earnscliffe for an exhibit featuring some of Canada’s most accomplished artists. Meet the artists in the garden and if something tempts you, take home a piece of Canadian art and support the efforts of the Elizabeth Fry Society in our community. All proceeds go to support the programs and services of the Elizabeth Fry Society of Ottawa.

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Earnscliffe the British Ambassador’s Residence

Earnscliffe is a Victorian manor in Ottawa, Ontario. It is currently used as the residence of the British High Commissioner to Canada, and it was home to Canada’s first Prime Minister Sir John A. Macdonald. The manor overlooks the Ottawa River just east of the Macdonald-Cartier Bridge. It is located just to the northwest of Sussex Drive across from the Lester B. Pearson Building.

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From Tompalski’s Jeweled Body Parts Series

The house is a National Historic Site of Canada, and the location of a plaque erected by the Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada, but since it is a diplomatic residence, it is closed to visitors. The manor was built by Thomas McKay company for his son-in-law John McKinnon in 1855.  McKinnon died suddenly in 1866 and the house was purchased by another of McKay’s sons-in-law, Thomas Keefer. Two years later he sold it to railroad developer Thomas Reynolds. Reynolds resided there for several years, and it was during this period that it got the name “Earnscliffe,” an archaic term for “eagle’s cliff.”

Reynolds died in 1879, and in 1883 his son sold the house to Sir John A. Macdonald. Macdonald had earlier stayed with Reynolds, and there are some stories that he gave it its name. In 1888 Macdonald made several additions to the structure. In 1891 Macdonald fell ill, and he died in his room in Earnscliffe. His widow, Lady Macdonald briefly continued to reside in the manor after his death and Queen Victoria made her Baroness Macdonald of Earnscliffe. Soon, however, Agnes and her daughter departed for England and leased the house to Lord Treowen, commander of the militia. Over the next decades the building was home to several local notables including Mrs Charles A.E. Harriss. In 1930, William Henry Clark, the first British High Commissioner to Canada, arranged to buy the house for the British government. It has been the home of the High Commissioner ever since. On October 4, 2011 a fire damaged the building. British High Commissioner Andrew Pocock, living in the house at the time, was fine and no one was injured in the fire

Rogers TV’s RegArts, Jewelled Body Parts

RegArts, the Francophone Cultural Magazine of Rogers TV features the Jeweled Body Parts, Talking Portraits and Body Language Series.

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In 2007  Rogers TV’s program RegArts featured Tompalski’s Jeweled Body Parts, Talking Portraits and Body Language Series. RegArts is the Francophone Cultural Magazine of the Greater Ottawa Region.

Marlene Hoff, a well known arts advocate in the Capital Region, spoke to the RegArts reporter live at the Red Saloon art show in Ottawa. Marlene was also a subject of a portrait in Tompalski’s Talking Portrait series as shown below.

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Marlene sitting for Portrait in Tomaplski’s Ottawa Studio

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Marlene’s Portrait by Sherry Tompalski

Psychologist and arts supporter Annick Chenier was also interviewed by Roger TV’s RegArts Francophone Cultural Magazine program about her Talking Portrait recorded by Tompalski and Thompson.

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Annicks portraits is shown below:

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As well Mathieu  Dion covered Tompalski work on RegArts in 2007. Today he works for Radio Canada as a parliamentary correspondent in Quebec City.

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In a second piece by RegArts, covering Tompalski’s Jeweled Body Parts show at La Petite Mort Gallery of Ottawa, Professor, Architect and Artist Honorata Pienkowska describes the formal elements of the Jeweled Body Parts Series.

Tompalski’s definition is as follows: “The Jeweled Body Parts series is an exploration of the power of feminine beauty, objectification and the desire to be a complete person. It is a playful series of bold designs and subliminal images emphasizing the surface…the skin…the interface between inside and outside. Jeweled Body Parts, continue the Body Language Series, which was recently featured in Scientific America’s psychological magazine Mente & Cerebro of Sao Paulo Brazil. My style is best described as psychological realism as I try to capture psychological experience in paint on canvas. As a psychiatrist, I have spent many years trying to help people understand their inner life, and in a sense my paintings are that inner life made visible.”

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Local Project Gallery New York, Fluid

Annick & Tony: A Talking Portrait Story exhibited at 2007 FLUID media event at Local Project, Queens New York.

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Annick & Tony: A Talking Portrait Story produced and directed by Sherry Tompalski & Graham Thompson, was presented on the opening night of the FLUID film festival, July 15th 2007 at 5PM in the Main Screening room @ Local Project, Long Island City 21-36 44rd, LIC, Queens 11101 .

The Local Project Gallery’s FLUID EVENT featured Video Art, Motion Graphics, Live Performances, Interactive Installations, Music Videos, and Narratives.

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Annick & Tony: A Talking Portrait Story

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Annick & Tony’s Portraits side-by-side

Tony Martins is founding editor and creative director of Guerilla magazine (www.getguerilla.ca), a quarterly publication that examines “culture at ground level” online since 2004. A native of Toronto, Tony holds an MA in English from the University of Waterloo. Guerilla looks through a wide-angle lens to create material that is substantial, intelligent, diverse, approachable, curious, experimental, and presented from multiple viewpoints.

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Tony in Tompalski’s Ottawa studio during the filming of “Annick & Tony”

Guerilla publishes feature stories, essays, images, and a variety of contributions from artists, arts writers, and cultural observers. All artistic and creative forms are fair game, including those now emerging. Guerilla will approach subject matter “at ground level” (i.e., with no agenda other than to examine what’s out there), placing equal significance on high art and raw expression, on the celebrated and the unknown, on the historic and the avant-garde. Guerilla exists to get people talking within and across cultural circles in a new kind of public dialogue. Guerilla publishes paid advertising but will never be advertising-driven. Published quarterly, Guerilla is independently owned and managed.

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Tony in Tompalski’s Ottawa studio during the filming of “Annick & Tony”

Transcript of Tony’s Talking Portrait

[TONY] … So how did you reach the conclusion that purple would be my color? Just a feeling, a total intuition?

[SHERRY] Yes, I just thought of you.

[TONY] I’m a gemini, 2 individuals or something. There was always a tension going on between the 2, and I also like to think that I have a fair bit of feminine within me. There is no self until you are in a relationship, then its only through the relationship that you can…

[SHERRY] Yes.

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Sherry Tompalski in her Studio 2007

[TONY] My father’s father was from Portugal and he emigrated to Guyana, northern most tip of South America, but culturally, it is part of the Caribbean. So my dad is very much a West Indian man, my dad is a musician and a cultural developer, he lives in the Cayman Islands now. But I’m a strange mix, my mother is Scottish…Yes there also is a little black blood in there too, because my father’s mother, her ancestors, there was some racial mixing going on there for sure. Soccer and volleyball are my two big sports. They had an entrance scholarship competition, so I ah, sent work in and they invited me to come to campus. So much into sports and into artwork and culture.

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Image of the Talking Portrait Catalogue

[SHERRY] Yes.

[TONY] The story of yourself, is retold over and over again though the course of our lives. And you enter into a new relationship, you’ve got a new story, hopefully, and if you don’t, your probably not being very honest with yourself.

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Tony and Sherry during the filming of “Annick & Tony: A Talking Portrait”

The Talking Portrait Series

Portraiture through unseen collaboration with others “Talking Portraits” installations of wife and husband Sherry Tompalski and Graham Thompson use technology to capture a “co-creation” that is mostly invisible, highly intuitive, and quintessentially human. evidence of human intuition.

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The Talking Portraits series documents the creation of Tompalski’s oil-on-canvas  portraits using three integrated components: the finished portrait; a time-lapse video of the portrait in the making; and an audio recording of whatever Tompalski’s subjects verbalize while beneath the gaze of the portraitist.

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Annick & Tony: A Talking Portrait

As you may see in the three talking portraits we present here, the sum total is an almost spooky emergence of a distinct personality through shape, colour, image, and sound.  “co-create” my portrait. She had intuited the colour that best represents my conception of self and confidently used it as the foundation for the portrait. capturing my intuitive approach to portraiture. We viewed the videos together, saw the  possibilities, and began experimenting with voice tracks, music and time-lapse photography.”

Steam Whistle Gallery Toronto, Talking Portraits

Talking Portraits Installation exhibited at Steam Whistle Gallery, Toronto Canada in 2006.

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Sherry Tompalski’s and Graham Thompson’s Talking Portraits Installation was exhibited at The Steam Whistle Gallery, Toronto Canada in 2006.

Sherry Tompalski’s Talking Portait Installation Debuted in Toronto at the Steam Whistle Gallery. Curated by Simon Hermant, the show opened October 26th at 6pm and continued until November 22nd at The Roundhouse 255 Bremner Blvd. in Toronto, close to the CN Tower.

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The Talking Portrait Installation covered an entire wall of the Steam Whistle gallery with 144 square feet of boldly painted close-up portraits. This matrix of 16 paintings immerses the viewer in a field of faces that act as a metaphor for our distilled experiences with other people.

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The installation also includes audio samples and time-lapse photography from the actual portrait sitting which illustrates the concept of co-construction – the reciprocal, mutual influence between an artist and a model that is interactive, bi-directional, and largely unconscious. Thus the finished portraits are a visual coalescence of this process.

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Tompalski’s style is best described as psychological realism, an attempt to capture the psychological experience of another person in paint on canvas. In the Talking Portrait installation Tompalski often utilizes “ironic colour” which was used by Michealangelo in his paintings in the Sistine Chapel. Ironic color is color that is in opposition to the manifest expression of the model, and this adds a complexity to the meaning of the portrait. This ambiguity seems appropriate as people often have complex experiences and mixed feelings. Ironic color captures this beautifully.

La Petite Mort Gallery Ottawa, Talking Portraits

Tompalski’s Talking Portraits were exhibited at La Petite Mort Gallery May 26th, 2006.

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Sherry Tompalski’s Talking Portaits Installation was at La Petite Mort Gallery, curated by Guy Berube,  May 26th 7 – 10 PM at 306 Cumberland St. Ottawa Canada.  The  Exhibition provided 3 ways to experience the portrait – through large oil paintings, 8 audio sound tracks, and 8 videos of time-lapse photography that record the creation of the portraits.

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PORTRAITS: The east wall will be covered with 135 square feet of boldly painted faces painted in her style of Psycholoogical Realism, where Tompalski captures the psychological experience of Ottawa’s leading psychotherapists and artists in paint on canvas. Her work is emphasizes intuition, interpretation, and co-construction (the unconscious dialogue of the portrait sitting.)

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Portraiture & New Media

SOUND TRACKS: The sound tracks, were developed by splicing together unscripted comments with original computer music and sounds of birds, trains, roller coasters, steel bands and bagpipes. This dialogue allows for a momentary glimpse into the process of co-construction through the model’s verbal dialogue and the painter’s visual expression.

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TIME-LAPSE VIDEOS: The time-lapse photography displays the development of the portrait. The hypnotic effect helps the audience take the time to look and become engaged with the painted portrait. To understand ourselves we look at others for clues as to what we are experiencing. The human face conveys a rich complexity of personal history, which we feel in an inexplicable way as an impression or an intuition. Paintings and Installation by Sherry Tompalski and Supporting Audio and Video tracks by Graham Thompson.

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Artist’s Statement

The Talking Portrait Installation, with its matrix of boldly painted faces, its use of time-lapse photography and edited voice tracks, invites the audience into the intimate moment of the portrait sitting. Rather than hang the portraits of the Talking Portrait Installation individually, Tompalski typically presents groups 9 to 15 large faces per gallery wall, covering as much as 135 square feet at a time. Consequently, art audiences are confronted by an expressive collection of personalities that for Tompalski represents “our life experience with others – those people who live inside of us, who shape the way we are from moment to moment.”

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As well, The Talking Portrait Installation offers audience the opportunity to listen on portable audio players, individual sounds tracks for each portrait (produced by Thompson), where the models unsolicited comments are accompanied by supporting sound effects and programmed music that set the mood of each encounter. In effect, the sound tracks help the audience understand what each model is feeling, as part of an ongoing effort to capture the psychological experience of each model. The painted portraits are also supported by the time-lapse record of their creation (produced by Thompson), giving audiences, a quick overview of the development of each face through multiple layers of paint. The hypnotic effect of the compressed video helps the audience take a moment to look, to become engaged with the matrix of portraits. Consequently, the overall effect of the installation is a deepening of the moment, the moment mediated by the right hemisphere of the brain.

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Right Brain Communication

The Talking Portrait installation is primarily concerned about right brain communication, as it takes place between the artist and the model, as the right brain is responsible for processing nonverbal facial expression, body language, and voice in terms of rhythm, tone and force. Research (Wexler et al 1992) demonstrates that the right hemisphere is specialized for both the receptive processing and expressive communication of facial information (primarily from the eyes and from around the mouth) between people in spontaneous social interaction.

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This occurs very quickly in 3 milliseconds and is unconscious. For Tompalski, a practicing psychiatrist, the Talking Portrait series serves as visual confirmation that “90% of what goes on between people is unconscious”-an idea she credits to Daniel Stern, a professor of psychology at the University of Geneva and a noted expert in the mother-infant relationship.

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Tompalski describes her portrait making process as follows, “To understand ourselves we look at others for clues as to what we are experiencing. The human face conveys a rich complexity of personal history, which I feel in an inexplicable way as an impression or an intuition. Consequently, I value painting from a live model. Most importantly, this allows for a mutual influence that is interactive and largely unconscious.”

CTV’s Tech Now features the Talking Portraits

CTV’s Tech Now Program, hosted by Colin Trethewey, features Talking Portrait Installation 2006.

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CTV’s Tech Now Program of Ottawa Canada,  hosted by Colin Trethewey, featured the Talking Portrait Installation, June 11 2006.

The CTV’s coverage of the Talking Portraits installation ran as follows: An art show is a chance to escape the multi-media world we live in and quietly view artwork– not anymore. Innovative Ottawa artists are adding audio and video as part of their art, called “Talking Portraits” Sherry Tompalski is stepping into new territory with the help of her husband Graham Thompson…

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Both are artists learning to deal with a new medium, wiring an art gallery for video and sound… this exhibit is about more than the finished portraits. While hanging the art is still an important step the canvas only tells part of the story… each work will be shown with video of the portrait sitting and audio clips of the conversation between subject and artist…

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Graham Thompson shot and edited the video AND he`s also created a sound track for each portrait with individual cd-players… the sound track is the artist and the portrait subject talking about the work while the painting was taking place.

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CTV Host Colin Tretheway’s Portrait by Tompalski

The next step is taking this beyond the walls of the gallery to a wider audience, and that`s the plan with Serry Tompalski`s website, on sherrypaints.info you can watch the talking portraits… A recent showing in Ottawa was one night only, but the show goes international this fall with an exhibit in Chicago and it`s streaming live 24-7 on the web.

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CTV Host Colin Thetheway sitting for his own Talking Portrait

CTV’s TechNow Program Backgrounder

In Paul Brent’s own words, the producer of TechNow program – “What a decade from 2001 to 2011. Consider the technology that we have come to take for granted, and so much of this has come about in the last ten years. It’s an unprecedented pace of change, and really shows few signs of slowing down. Covering all of it has been Tech Now, as we mark our tenth anniversary this year.  From iPhones to the iPod, from Google to Twitter, Facebook, Digital cameras, flat screen TV’s, Kindles and YouTube, they have all arrived in the last decade. It amazes me to see what happens.”

ARC Gallery Chicago, Talking Portraits

Talking Portraits at ARC Gallery of Chicago in November  2006.

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Tompalski’s Talking Portrait installation opened at the ARC Gallery of Chicago on November 6, 2006. It was covered by CANTV and later broadcast November 19th at 3pm on CAN TV 21.

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The installation of 12 portaits, 6 videos and 7 portable CD Players were exhibited from November 1 to December 3, 2006 at 734 N. Milwaukee (corner of Milwaukee & Carpenter) Chicago USA. Videos of Graham, Jane, Carol, Marlene, Annick and Tony were displayed in a continuous loop on a video monitor at the centre of the installation. The corresponding audio tracks were made available on portable CD players so that visitors could listen to individual sound tracks as they view the 36″x 36″ portraits from the series. See the image below.

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The Talking Portrait Installation Overview

The installation includes audio, video and painted portraits. The portraits are painted from a live model sitting for approximately six hours. The audio portion is edited from the comments, questions and reflections made by the model during the sitting. The time-lapse photography records the development of the portrait.

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Typically, the painted portraits, exhibited as a matrix of faces, are inscribed with bold brush strokes and adventurous colours, that capture the psychological experience of the subjects. Tompalski’s work is concerned with intuition, interpretation, and  co-construction (the unconscious dialogue experienced during the portrait sitting.) Sherry Tompalski  states “To understand ourselves we look at others for clues as to what we are experiencing. The human face conveys a rich complexity of personal history, which we feel in an inexplicable way as an impression or an intuition. “

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The sound tracks, were developed by splicing together the unscripted comments between the subject and artist with computer music and an assortment of sampled sounds added.

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This dialogue allows for a momentary glimpse into the process of co-construction through the model’s verbal dialogue and the painter’s visual expression. The time-lapse photography displays the development of the portrait. The hypnotic effect helps the audience take the time to look and become engaged with the painted portrait.

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Thanks to our Supporters

Special thanks goes to Galeries Saw of Ottawa Canada, the Ontario Arts Council for their support in developing this show and to the coverage we received from CANTV who filmed the opening reception.

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ARC Gallery Backgrounder

The ARC Gallery is a not-for-profit, artist run gallery located in Chicago’s River West Neighborhood. ARC is an internationally recognized alternative space and has been an integral part of the Chicago art community since 1973. The ARC Gallery’s mission is to bring innovative, emerging and/or experimental visual art to a wide range of viewers, and to provide a nurturing atmosphere for the continued development of artistic potential and dialogue.

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Scientific American Mente Cerebro, Brazil

Scientific American, Mente & Cérebro Magazine of Sao Paulo, Brazil features Male Body Language on its cover.

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The Scientific American / Mente & Cérebro Magazine of Sao Paulo, Brazil featured Tompalski’s Male Body Language on its cover and The Boxer, The Three Sisters, Female Body Language and a matrix of Talking Portraits in magazine articles of it’s August 2006 issue #163.

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Brazil’s Scientific American

Brazil’s Scientific American/Mente Cerebro Featured Tompalski’s Male Body Language on its August 2006 Cover. The cover of the August 2006 issue of Scientific American/Mente Cerebro (circulation 25,000) of Sao Paulo Brazil featured Sherry Tompalski’s oil painting Male Body Language. As well, the scientific journal included Tompalski’s Boxer, The Three Sisters, Female Body Language and a Matrix of Talking Portraits & editorial page in 4 of the magazine’s articles.

 

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The Body Language series, which examines suppressed emotions that are expressed through the body.

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Brazil’s Scientific American/Mente Cerebro Features Tompalski’s Male Body Language on its August 2006 Cover. The cover of the August 2006 issue of Scientific American/Mente Cerebro (circulation 25,000) of Sao Paulo Brazil featured Sherry Tompalski’s oil painting Male Body Language.

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As well, the scientific journal included Tompalski’s Boxer, The Three Sisters, Female Body Language and a Matrix of Talking Portraits & editorial page in 4 of the magazine’s articles.

Chicago Access Network Television CANTV

Chicago Access Network Television features Talking Portraits Installation at River West Gallery 2006.

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The Talking Portraits Installation was covered by Chicago Access Network Television CANTV during its exhibition at the ARC Gallery of Chicago in November 2006.

The installation includes audio, video and painted portraits. The portraits are painted from a live model sitting for approximately six hours. The audio portion is edited from the comments, questions and reflections made by the model during the sitting. The time-lapse photography records the development of the portrait.

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The ARC Gallery/Educational Foundation is a not-for-profit, artist run gallery located in Chicago’s River West Neighborhood. ARC is an internationally recognized alternative space and has been an integral part of the Chicago art community since 1973.

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CAN TV is an independent nonprofit established by the City of Chicago in 1983 as the public’s space on cable television free of commercials, filters, and censors. On our five local channels you can see the diversity of people and ideas that reflect Chicago, including voices often excluded from the mainstream media. The city where neighbors can freely share their passions and talents with one another is the city that works better.  For everyone.