Introducing The Gallery of Presidents

I am painting a large-scale portrait of every US president. The collection will be done by December and will be on exhibit at Tarrytown Library in Westchester. That’s the plan anyway.

Because most of the paintings will be 30" x 40" or larger, the exhibit will have to be done in two sessions. I am doing this project for several reasons.

In this politically tumultuous time with Trump as POTUS, I am more politically concerned than ever before. Who the president is and what he is doing are of constant concern. Art is my way of addressing the reality of the world.

I am also called to action by the National Portrait Gallery at the Smithsonian. According to the National Portrait Gallery at the Smithsonian their collection of presidential portraits is described thus: “As the nation’s only complete collection of presidential portraits outside the White House, the “America’s Presidents” exhibition lies at the heart of the Portrait Gallery’s mission to tell the country’s history through the individuals who have shaped it.”

I saw this quote on the website two months ago and took it as a call to action.

So far I have completed a 40" x 50" Lincoln and a Washington, John Adams and Thomas Jefferson, all of which are 30" x 40".

The internet cannot communicate scale, but here they are:

I am currently working on a portrait of our current president. I did complete a painting that was my expression of criticism:

I called the above painting “Not Innocent.” It is inspired by Francis Bacon’s rendition of Velazquez’s portrait of Innocent X. I used the screaming mouth from Francis Bacon and placed it on Trump.

But the above work is an expression of what I think is wrong with Trump as president. It is not a portrait.

I am painting an actual portrait of Trump currently and will post it soon. I will not intentionally try to indicate my political stance. I will treat the portrait as I do all other portraits that I paint: as a way of rendering, as best I can, the likeness of a face as I see it. By including a direct portrait of him in the collection, as I am doing of all of the other presidents, it is a way of facing the reality of the fact that he is our president right now.

I am also inspired by Ram Dass who keeps a picture of Trump on his prayer table.

© Adam Tramantano