5×5: SELF by Olivia Gilmore

SELF 5 self-portraits by 5 progressive artists.

I think of these self-portraits as objects with urgency. The work is an inevitable result of self-identifying as an artist. 

I searched the archives high and low for this image of Lucas Samaras. His groundbreaking self-portraits are vivid and psychologically weighted. This image is from his series, Photo Transformations. In each image, he reexamine’s himself as the subject. Though the link to Samaras’ work will show you his sculpture projects, (and yes he made a mirrored room before Kusama in 1966) it is worthwhile to do a Google Image search to scroll through the variety of self-portraits and performance photographs, spanning from 60s to the present.


Genevieve Belleveau is a multimedia artist and social practitioner; her work is largely performative. Belleveau first caught my attention with her Mobile Monastery project. Her work delves into the spiritual, new age culture, and new age culture in the context of social media. Belleveau’s series, #selfieaffirmation, utilizes the Vine app. to riff on mantras analogous with the tropes of self help and positive affirmations. Below, is a still from a selfie, in which Belleveau says, “I am unique individual, no one is like me, I’m different.” Belleveau is currently traveling in her Mobile Monastery. She has just relocated from the Bywater neighborhood of New Orleans, to WalMart’s parking lot RV colony, where Belleveau will “be embarking on a fresh new phase of environmental intrigue.”

Genevieve Belleveau, #selfieaffirmation #sephora #unique
Genevieve Belleveau, #selfieaffirmation #sephora #unique

Artist  Colin Shields works in photography and film. He explores facets of the ego through transformations, which play with identity, gender and expression. Recently Shields released his short-film, Bhoner, which will be premiering at The Queen’s World Film Festival this March, 2014. The self-portraits below were prompted by an online interaction between Shields and a friend. His friend would send him a pseudonym, then Shields created 18 characters based on his own interpretation using Mac’s Photobooth application.

Colin Shields, Untitled
Colin Shields, Untitled

Genesis Breyer P-Orridge’s self-portraits have documented h/er early years as a musician and artist, as well as the process of h/er physical transformation, in which Beyer P-Orridge merged h/er identity with late partner Lady Jaye Breyer. The below image, is from 30 Years of Being Cut Up. Breyer P-Orridge is a pioneer in the ‘life as art’ mentality. h/er avant-garde work questions: common art practices, sexuality, and identity. P-Orridge is represented by Invisible Exports gallery. Breyer P-Orridge’s “remarkable body of underground work reminds us that when you believe something, artistic integrity demands that you live by it too.”

Genesis Breyer P-Orridge, Flowering Pain Give Space (1998), from 30 Years of Being Cut Up

Lauren Oliver is a photographer from New York. She is a senior at SUNY Purchase. Her thesis work examines spirituality through self-portraits, portraits, and still-life photography. Oliver’s self-portraits are bold and sensual. Oliver’s goal in producing this body of work is to reflect on her childhood, as well as experiences and adults that have shaped her throughout the years. In this self-portrait, “Faith First” Oliver intentionally covers herself with lace glove, an object Oliver considers erotic. All of the work included in this project deals with innocence and sexuality.

Lauren Oliver, Faith First








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