Hypnotic “Abstract” Paintings Reveal Realistic Faces When You Take a Step Back

Geometric Pattern Portraits by Lee Wagstaff

“Morphic Resonance”

Depending on how you look at one of Lee Wagstaff‘s paintings, you may see a pattern or a face. That's because the Berlin-based artist uses repeating geometric patterns in a uniform color to render his oil portraits, hiding the facial features from the viewer until they view his work at just the right distance.

“The source material comes from AI-generated faces (none of the people portrayed have ever or will ever exist in the real world),” Wagstaff tells My Modern Met. “With these paintings, I wanted to see how image data from the original faces could be altered, removed, or camouflaged whilst still maintaining the essence of the original forms.”

To integrate a portrait into the pattern, Wagstaff makes subtle changes to the design. In Morphic Resonance, for instance, he broadens the strokes of the overlapping rings in key areas of the face—eyebrows, eyes, nose, and lips—creating shadows in the place of the features. The amount of refinement he is able to add to the portrait depends on the delicacy of the pattern. Bolder designs like Fountain Head, for instance, reveal a slightly simpler face than more intricate patterns like Definable Aspect.

You can purchase prints and original paintings via Wagstaff's online store and keep up to date with his latest creations by following the artist on Instagram.

Berlin-based artist Lee Wagstaff creates hypnotic portrait paintings using repeating geometric patterns.

Geometric Pattern Portraits by Lee Wagstaff

“The Shape of Things to Come”

He uses AI-generated faces as the inspiration for each work.

Geometric Pattern Portraits by Lee Wagstaff

“Definable Aspect”

These paintings become clearer when viewed from afar or through a camera.

Geometric Pattern Portraits by Lee Wagstaff

“Monument”

Geometric Pattern Portraits by Lee Wagstaff

“Twin”

Geometric Pattern Portraits by Lee Wagstaff

“Special Activities”

Geometric Pattern Portraits by Lee Wagstaff

“Fountain Head”

Geometric Pattern Portraits by Lee Wagstaff

“Resistance to Order”

Geometric Pattern Portraits by Lee Wagstaff

“Somehow We Survived”

Geometric Pattern Portraits by Lee Wagstaff

“Nature Loves Novelty”

Lee Wagstaff: Website | Facebook | Instagram

My Modern Met granted permission to feature photos by Lee Wagstaff.

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Margherita Cole

Margherita Cole is a Contributing Writer at My Modern Met and illustrator based in Southern California. She holds a BA in Art History with a minor in Studio Art from Wofford College, and an MA in Illustration: Authorial Practice from Falmouth University in the UK. When she’s not writing, Margherita continues to develop her creative practice in sequential art.
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