Oh the lovely days of going to my art history classes! I remember I was one of the very few students who actually enjoyed the class, most of the other classmates were either stressed out or they just wanted to be back in their working studio. I always see art history as a shortcut to learning all the complex happenings in the world. The topics featured in a painting; the pigment used; the characters depicted; they all reveal the social economical world at the moment in time.
These paint brushes serve a very similar purpose to me, as they act as a gateway to those who may not be interested to read history books so that they can still learn about the “obscure and powerful stories of women across history and geography”. Created by San Francisco-based artist Rebecca Szeto, these innovative portraits “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.”
Each of her brushes is accompanied with the featured character’s name and stories, such as Rescue Annie, La Jeune Camile and more. Using “humble, end-of-life materials inspired by my experience as a faux finisher and love for art history” into the creation of these individual brushes, each of them feel and look like an Old Master’s work, which “is self-referential, acting as subject, object and action.” I particularly like the colors on the brush hair, which at times are deliberately matched with the colors of the portrait. This gives it a sense of completeness, and her clever usage of the totality of the brush does not leave the portraits hanging like an ordinary decor.