Renee So’s sculptures draw from the traditions of Antiquity and historical portrait busts. Works such as Otto & Max were originally part of a larger group which So thought of as a tribe; however, as with people, her busts are unique characters and are meant to be considered as individuals. Otto & Max sit on a plain wooden plinth which, like their black and white heads, suggests a classical simplicity and order. This idea of aesthetic or stylistic purity is something that is valued throughout the history of portrait sculpture and So’s portraits evoke a reverence for uniformity and geometry: the same sized heads are like a template or body ideal, which then are ‘accessorized’ with idiosyncratic hairstyles and facial features.

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