Distortion ultimately loses its potency as it departs too dramatically from authentic human or bestial formArtists with the talent to maintain control at the extremes-- who can approach the limits, but retain the hair-line judgment to know when to stop-- those are the masters who are able to devise some truly devastating images. (I'm not talking here about mere likenesses. The drawings I'm describing are in a different category from anything Al Hirschfeld or David Levine or Mort Drucker ever dreamed up.)
The following are examples of such caricature from artists I admire. First is Steve Brodner's depiction of Ted Cruz:
|Brodner's unerring eye located the reptilian elements in Cruz's DNA and brought them to the fore|
Tom Fluharty's devastating treatment of Hilary Clinton won attention-- and laughs-- from both sides of the aisle.
Here, Fluharty-- who is really a very nice person in real life-- contorts Obama's face to the limits of recognizability.
|Fluharty's expertise as a portrait painter enables him to take great liberties with the bones and muscles of the face, without losing control|
|No limits: Dick Cheney's shriveled penis draped on the coffin of the war dead|
Steadman believed that "The very dark primeval spur of all drawing [is] the deep desire to wield a supernatural power over a victim, the subject of the portrayal."
As you try to erase these horrifying images from your mind, you can feel that power at work.