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These figures are actual portraits burned into paper. The subjects lay down and traced the outlines of their own bodies on paper. They did not pose – the figures float on the paper as they had lain, expressing the simple fact of their being rather than any specific act of doing. I cut out the silhouettes, laid them on heavier paper and set them on fire.

The cutout figures twist and arch and crackle as they’re burned away. When the flames die out the ashes form ephemeral figures that are collected and saved, leaving the image burned into the heavy paper.

Each burning destroys the original tracing as it creates a new form on the underlying paper. In one sense I don't actually draw the figures, but create the situation for them to draw themselves. Beyond a certain point I lose control and have to let the process play out.
all work copyright jeff woodbury 2010    contact