Threshold #1 [back]

Oil on Panel | 9" x 6" | 2010

Threshold #1 is based on a portrait of George Washington (The Lansdowne Portrait, 1796 by Gilbert Stuart) and is depicted here as an amalgam of George Washington and abolitionist Frederick Douglass. It is also a nod to Obama, the first African-American president. The complexion of the figure is a reversal of color and light values resulting in a charcoal look with the intention of presenting an absence of color. The clothes and furnishings are modernized to reflect the present, while the overall scene is rooted in the past.

The man's gesture is ambiguous and leaves the viewer to interpret whether he is welcoming someone or showing them the door, while the welcome mat adds discomfort by being partially hidden and behind the door.

The ominous sky is at the man's level, giving him an appearance of being at a great elevation; while the stormy clouds (influenced by Rufus Porter) reinforce the idea of uncertainty of future.