Conceptual Portraits

The sole of a person’s shoe becomes a print­ing plate to cre­ate their con­cep­tual por­trait. Bran­cac­cio branches away from tra­di­tional por­trai­ture where an artist inter­prets and ren­ders phys­i­cal attrib­utes to resem­ble an indi­vid­ual. Instead, his ethe­real or poetic ges­ture uses a per­sonal object belong­ing to a per­son to sym­bol­ize and rep­re­sent a moment dur­ing his or her walk through life.

Our atten­tion is drawn to a notion that our foot­step marks tes­ta­ment to our pas­sage and exis­tence. We can imag­ine that this often-invis­i­ble evi­dence traces or maps everyone’s jour­ney through­out his or her life­time. Bran­cac­cio removes for us a minute frag­ment from the con­stant lay­er­ing and criss­cross­ing of human-foot-traf­fic that has been roam­ing our planet since the begin­ning of our exis­tence.

As viewer, we are intro­duced to the indi­vid­ual as this trace or mark before us. The size and shape of the shoeprint or dis­played name might imply a person’s sex. But, we are not given any insight into their appear­ance, or what has brought the indi­vid­ual to this cross­road.

With­out human fea­tures, we are con­fronted with the essence of the human spirit, free from prej­u­dice and stig­mas that are cre­ated by social con­structs. We are offered a chance to con­tem­plate our human­ity, the truth that binds us.

If a por­trait is of some­one that we do know, then anonymity turns into a jux­ta­posed tes­ti­mony to our own pas­sage, since it holds famil­iar­ity. And when you think about it, you could have passed or walked in the same spot some­where on this planet as the por­traits before you cre­at­ing an unre­al­ized con­nec­tion.

Brancaccio’s por­traits include Eliz­a­beth Tay­lor, Padro Almod­ovar, Jean Paul Gaultier, Angel­ica Hus­ton, Robert Wil­son, James Earl Jones, Miguel Bose, Jean Marc Barr, and Phyl­lis Diller.