Rein Mägar “Facial recognition”


Rein Mägar will open his personal exhibition Facial Recognition in Draakon gallery at 5.30pm on Monday, January 13th, 2020.
“Facial recognition is a special purpose computer program or function used for identification or automatic verification or examination of a person.” (Wikipedia)
Current exhibition mainly consists of portraits while offering an amusing opportunity to search for common features between computer-based work and portrait painting, as also the title of the exhibition - “Facial Recognition” - is referring to. A computer program is able to spot a human face in a frame in a fraction of a second while comparing the face to thousands of other faces. Therewith the program uses 68 points for defining a face whereas the tip of the nose is always the point No. 31 - the coordinates of all points together will provide the line of numbers characteristic to the person's face.
Teaching portrait drawing and painting involves similar basic knowledge - one has to find the connecting points and if carefully sticking to the coordinates between the points, it will be possible to achieve resemblance to the model. This forms the beginning, yet today's computer algorithms can also read the mood on human face - anger, sadness, joy, surprise and probably other expressions. Rein Mägar uses photography in his artistic practice - but unlike the photographer a century ago who made his model freeze in pose, Mägar attempts to record the model's mood and movements with the help of the means of contemporary photographic technology. He has often succeeded in catching the model's cheerfulness and smiles.
The common feature in all Mägar's portraits, and perhaps in his artistic style in general, is depicting the model's bust only. According to the artist, this method allows him to depict hands and the related activities in order to give a better overview of the characteristics of the one portrayed - for instance, a metal artist holding an axe. He has added motifs from his artwork, such as flying female figures. This approach gives a chance to compare the pieces with ex libris. Besides the portraits painted on watercolour paper the present exhibition also shows compositions where Mägar has used a technique that is quite the opposite to the one of the classic watercolour painting, using a dry brush on an undercoated canvas.
Rein Mägar (1944) has studied in Tartu Art College, Estonian State Art Institute and Academy of Fine Arts Leipzig (Hochschule für Grafik und Buchkunst). He has worked in publishing houses „Valgus“, „Eesti Raamat“ and „Bit“ in 1972-1992; in Estonian Privatization Agency in 1992-1996 and in Maves LLC in 1997-2000. Besides working as an artistic editor in publishing houses Mägar has designed numerous posters and books.
Mägar is a member of the Estonian Artists' Association since 1977 and member of the Estonian Watercolorists' Union since 1998. During the past few decades, the artist has been focused on watercolour painting and taken part in numerous exhibitions both in Estonia and abroad. Most frequent topics in Mägar's artwork are landscapes and motifs of the sea; in his recent work, the artist concentrates on figures and portraits. As a member of the Estonian Watercolorists' Union, Mägar has actively participated in all exhibitions of the union and other related events outside Estonia.
Exhibition will be open until February 3rd, 2020.
Supported by the Cultural Endowment of Estonia.
Exhibitions in Draakon gallery are supported by the Cultural Endowment of Estonia, Estonian Ministry of Culture and Liviko Ltd.
Additional information:
Draakon Gallery
Gsm: +372 56 141 591
         +372 52 85 324
Tel: +372 6 276 777
E-mail: galerii [at]
Pikk 18, 10133 Tallinn
Mon–Fri 11.00–18.00
Sat 11.00–17.00
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