At First Blush

At First Blush

At first blush, it appears an unambiguous portrait, the subject a man in meditation— adamantly upright posture, well-cut jacket, background in soft focus. From another angle, one sees a woman with a broad, strong face and red hair. Viewed from a third angle, the subject is a beast, half-covered in sleek fur, half in phosphorescent feathers. Studied from yet a fourth angle, the portrait is of a woman entirely unlike the first—caffeinated, haunted, angular features—the man from the initial view no longer a man but a small boy, three or four years old. From this last angle, the beast appears to be a large black dog, its teeth sunk into one of the boy’s legs, the boy’s face contorted in pain. A remarkable self-portrait.