Thomas Brodhead – American, born 1968 – American Physiognomy –2018 – oil on canvas – 24" x 18" x 0.75" (60.96cm x 45.72cm x 1.91cm)
Americans are lost on this: a face by any other shape would feel as fine. But what comprises a face but a collection of sense organs, anyway? And in those apertures of perception resides the seat of all beauty: the mug that would launch a thousand ships, a profile of classical proportions, perhaps even the trigger of obscene emotion. But will we countenance a national melting pot that reduces to the best common denominator of our features, or will we insist on a crystallized mosaic of discrete colors, with the terrible and the beautiful isolated at the poles?