Nina Levy
Oil sculpture of a child's head displayed in the National Portrait Gallery

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Large Head
Collection of the artist, courtesy Metaphor Contemporary Art
This head is a portrait of my son Archer at almost two years old. I originally sculpted it as a part of a larger site-specific installation called Toss. In February of 2006, the head was suspended in the center of the two-story gallery space at Metaphor Contemporary Art in Brooklyn. It was flanked front and back by a male and a female figure, both headless and swinging as if on a trapeze, tossing the head between them. This head combines the two primary strands in my work from the last ten years. In many of my sculptures, I use fragments of bodies and manipulate their scale and placement. The source material for those pieces is myself and my immediate family. In different series, I sculpt fairly straight, closely-observed portrait heads of other people. They are all close to life-size and are suspended at the eye level of each subject. This head is not as realistic or detailed as those portraits, but my intention was that it be resolved enough to stand alone as a portrait head. Because of its large size, I modeled this head in Styrofoam and plaster rather than clay, and then cast it in polyester resin. The surface is oil paint. More of my work can be seen in Portraiture Now at the National Portrait Gallery, and online at ninalevy.com.