American artist John Ahearn (Binghamton, New York, 1951) and Puerto Rican artist Rigoberto Torres (Aguadilla, 1960) collaborate in portraying everyday people. Their exhibition was
part of Witte de Withís investigation into the depiction of the human figure and the question of the relevancy of mimetic impulses.
Ahearn and Torres have lived and worked amidst the Latino-American population in the South Bronx in New York since the end of the seventies, portraying their neighbors in the tradition of the realistic, religious portraits that the Spanish colonists brought to the Americas.Working about ten miles away from the dense concentration of commercial galleries and highly prized artistís lofts in Tribeca and Soho, Ahearn and Torres have sought to break from the art establishment by reclaiming a place for art in the fabric of daily life and by renewing the ancient role of the artist in society.The casting process requires close collaboration with the models and happens in a very public way, usually out on the sidewalk in front of friends, family and neighbors. From the heads, busts, and reliefs, one cast remains in the neighborhood, either in peopleís homes or in public places such as waiting rooms or courtyards, while a copy enters the art world. The castings and installations of the busts and reliefs are community events.