Rebecca Szeto’s Paintbrush People
Recycling an old paintbrush into an iconic portraiture, Rebecca Szeto has found a wonderful niche for her artworks. After all, don’t we all hate throwing away our well loved paintbrushes? And they all end up with their own character and personality, just like people. I love the crude and sometimes crusty buildup on the garments where the paint has dried up, time after time.
“These works play with notions of re-forming beauty and value. I use humble, end-of-life materials inspired by my experience as a faux finisher and love for art history. The paintbrush is self-referential, acting as both subject and object. It refers to the history of painting, through the medium of paint, using its own tool. The slow and repetitive pace of whittling allows me time to reflect more directly on the idiosyncrasies of each individual brush. The action of whittling serves as a metaphor for reducing something to its core value or essence.
These works pay homage to a sensibility and vitality found in Old Masters’ works. My latest edition of Paintbrush Portraits highlighting lost, obscure and powerful stories of women across history and geography. These lady-like portraits are a playful strategy I use to draw the viewer into a more refined conversation about the nature of the work – in slowing down and observing the ordinary, however small, the most profound things are discovered.”
“These works are an homage to an often lost sensibility and quality, not simply the look, of Old Masters’ works. They (con)fuse realities between politics and consumerism, pointing to an endless loop of transformative regeneration and redemption. Paint and Brush are ripe for visual wordplay: Women’s work and their brush off from much of art history, whitewashing of culture, and bristling at patriarchy, bourgeois ideals and waste.”