Blog / 2019 / Us Too

March 11, 2019

Empathetic Magic is one attempt at an antidote for the feeling of disconnection that, ironically, so many of us share. The series will be on display in April at Lyceum Hall in Burlington, New Jersey!

Opening Reception: Friday, April 5th from 7 to 9 PM
Open: April 1st through 29th by appointment

Lyceum Hall
432 High Street
Burlington, NJ 08016

an asexual woman
Gwenn Seemel
What It Feels Like (Elizabeth Fitting In)
acrylic on bird’s eye piqué
18 inches in diameter

Each of the diptychs in Empathetic Magic comes with a statement about how I know the subject. The following is the statement that goes with both of Elizabeth’s portraits:

Elizabeth organized the asexual hangout at the coffee shop once every few weeks. The day I attended, everyone knew I was there only to find someone to paint. I’d been emailing with Elizabeth, and she had warned them about me. As I approached the table, I sensed very little curiosity mixed in with their caution. And they had a right to feel protective: asexuality is widely misunderstood and misrepresented. The conversation did not go well, but it didn’t matter in the end. Elizabeth agreed to participate in Empathetic Magic.

Over the next few months, I interviewed and photographed her many times as we tried to figure out how best to represent her. Unlike most of the subjects from the series, Elizabeth preferred fitting in to flaunting her differences. Not that it was particularly comfortable for her to pretend to be like everyone else. Rather, the alternative was so much more uncomfortable.

The portraits of Elizabeth are for sale for $1800 each—see all currently available artworks. You can purchase prints of this one from my Redbubble shop.


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