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by Maria Sofou

San Fransisco-based artist Rebecca Szeto creates little masterpieces by taking old, used paintbrushes and trasforming them into something truly unique: the handle of the brushes is craved and painted as a woman’s face while the bottom bristles are left untouched, resembling dresses and skirts. Szeto creates imaginative and ingenious women of different sizes, shapes, ethnicities and origins that are all exceptional and unique. The artist has taken an object that would normally be discarded and used it brilliantly, showing her magnificent skills – she has even painted Vermeer’s The Girl With the Pearl Earring!

Szeto explains: “These works play with notions of re-forming beauty and value. I use humble, end-of-life materials inspired by my experience as a faux finisher and love for art history. The paintbrush is self-referential, acting as both subject and object. It refers to the history of painting, through the medium of paint, using its own tool. The slow and repetitive pace of whittling allows me time to reflect more directly on the idiosyncrasies of each individual brush. The action of whittling serves as a metaphor for reducing something to its core value or essence. These works pay homage to a sensibility and vitality found in Old Masters’ works. My latest edition of Paintbrush Portraits highlighting lost, obscure and powerful stories of women across history and geography. These lady-like portraits are a playful strategy I use to draw the viewer into a more refined conversation about the nature of the work – in slowing down and observing the ordinary, however small, the most profound things are discovered.”

Take a look and don’t forget to follow her- this amazing series is ongoing!

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