My work True Presence for the ‘retreat from reality’ project is the culmination of a great deal of visual research from museums and my environment studying in Florence. During my research, I was predominately interested in fallen figures or figures with a sense of inner trouble.

As my time in Italy progressed, I experienced historic, opulent rooms and truly mesmerizing atmospheres. However, it made me think that these aristocratic individuals who owned these residences had their glut of problems just like everyone else.

Working within the tradition of portraiture, I set up a figure in a very wealthy common room where high-class individuals do their business and meet with important guests. The figure is dressed in a business suit representing power and control in an environment that seems like there shouldn’t be a worry in the world. However, I’ve illustrated the face and the hands in a manner that conveys a fleeting sense, a blurring of his presence. He is there . . . and yet he is not there. The absence of the face shows the true troubled nature of the individual in this environment. I wanted to convey the retreat in this manner because no matter the stature of an individual, they will always have their problems in life.

The true integrity of an individual can be perceived differently than what it truly is. This work talks about how people in power may be perceived as perfect, but it is not always the truth.