Unexpected Reflections: The Portrait Reconsidered
Date: Jan 21 - Mar 06,2010
Reception date: Jan 21 - Mar 06,2010
Curated by Terri Cohn
Featuring JD Beltran, Jim Campbell, Gigi Janchang, and Marion Gray
Opening Reception: Thursday January 21st, 2010 6:00 - 9:00 PM
It is a mark of contemporary life that personal identities have become fractured, and are in a state of constant re-definition. Because we live in a global society that is fragmented socially, politically, economically, and culturally, the search for basic life experiences that remind us of our commonality become a binding cultural tie. It follows that much recent artistic discourse addresses the premise that identity is a relative rather than a fixed construction. As a result, it is not surprising that our ideas about the portrait as a fixed representation of subject and identity have been stretched and challenged on theoretical and technical levels.
The genre of portraiture is a particularly rich means to understand the complex trajectory and evolving ideas about representation. Although we presume how things are from exterior appearances, portraits also have the potential to both reveal and mask the interior persona of an individual or group. Unexpected Reflections: The Portrait Reconsidered explores the implications of this duality, as well as the nature of memory, social relationships and phenomenological experience through the work of JD Beltran, Gigi Janchang, Jim Campbell, and Marion Gray. Working across the spectrum of media-from painting and photography to installation, video, and electronic media-Beltran's, Janchang's, and Campbell's methodologies encourage an exchange between the viewer, the portrait, and the gallery space. Although their works are visually distinctive, a shared sensibility is evident in their collective interest in the compound nature of personal identity, memory, and human experience. As a complement to these artists' expansive perceptual considerations of the inherently layered reality of the portrait, Marion Gray's photographs present a unique and multifaceted portrait of the remarkable individuals and events that have defined the Bay Area art world and beyond over the past 40 years.
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