Artwork / Critics Critiqued / Paul Missal (Blackfish Gallery)

painted portrait of the artist Paul Missal by Gwenn Seemel
Gwenn Seemel
Paul Missal (Blackfish Gallery)
acrylic on canvas
48 x 34 inches

When I approached Paul, a founding member of the Blackfish Gallery, at the opening of the gallery’s 2003 Recent Graduate Show, I asked him two favors: would he sit for me for a series of portraits of art dealers called Critics Critiqued? And would he talk to me about my contribution to the Recent Graduate Show? He graciously agreed to both my requests.

His remarks about my style were surprising to me at the time. He told me that the eyes in my painting seemed to be peering out from behind a mask of thatch. I had purposely underworked the eyes in the painting on the advice of the venerable Hess and, at first, I found it difficult to take Paul seriously because he disagreed with my favorite professor. This remains one of my favorite instances of the subjectivity of art. It was also a excellent point that Paul made.