Portraits of Process

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David Rockefeller Creative Arts Center at Pocantico

Free; Advance registration required.

“The artist’s hand represents to us the embodiment of both the mystery and mastery of creativity itself.”

Eric Fischl

American painter, b. 1948

Portraits of Process documents both the physical realities and personal narratives​ of contemporary American visual artists ​through their primary agent of creative process and expression: their hands.

On display from September 21, 2023 through July 21, 2024, the exhibition showcases 34 expertly crafted bronze life castings created for the American Artists’ Hand Archive (AAHA). Using a traditional lost-wax casting technique, AAHA founder Vanessa Hoheb and artistic director Thomas Donahue took the molds for the project in the subject artists’ studios, where each selected the gesture, context, and patina of their hands for the cast. Accompanied by Mark Lacko’s abstract close-up photographs of the casts, the resulting deeply personal sculptures record in intimate detail the relationship between artist and material, transcending simple physiological record to honor both the artists’ contributions to American art and the counter-impact of the creative process on the artists. The participating artists span boundaries of age, ethnicity, and gender to reveal the powerful common denominator of simple humanity.

Hoheb began her career as an apprentice under her father, sculptor Bruce Hoheb. While working in his studio for artists like Willem de Kooning, Louise Nevelson, and Jasper Johns, she gained the technical skills of sculptural enlarging, mold making, casting, and restoration, as well as a respect for the skill and effort inherent in artistic creation. After a 35-year career in restoration and conservation—including as lead of the team responsible for restoring the Statue of Liberty in 1984—she established the ever-growing American Artists’ Hand Archive in 2010 to acknowledge the careers of artists whose works have had significant influence on American culture. Thomas Donahue joined as its artistic director in 2013.

Portraits of Process includes casts of the following artists’ hands:

Huma Bhabha | Chuck Close | William Crozier | Elizabeth Strong Cuevas | Michele Oka Doner | Eric Fischl | Mary  Frank | April Gornik | Don Gummer | Peter Haines | James Hart | Bruce Hoheb | Bryan Hunt | Robert Indiana | Jasper Johns | Titus Kaphar | Mel  Kendrick | Lucy Kim | Maya Lin | Todd McGrain | Toshio Odate | Tom Otterness | Beverly Pepper | Judy Pfaff | Rona  Pondick | Richard Prince | Martin Puryear | Ed  Smith | Kiki Smith | Kenneth Snelson | William Tucker | Ursula Von Rydingsvard | John Waters | Jean Wiart