October 24 – December 4, 2016
It is difficult to mention the term, “narrative,” without acknowledging its wide use across academic fields ranging from psychology and literature to philosophy and visual art. Through the use of portraiture in storytelling, people have been able to document history, find cultural meaning, and explore personal beliefs. Moreover, in his 1980 essay, Secrets and Narrative Sequence, the British author and literary critic, Frank Kermode, maintained that stories have the unique ability to shift and develop with each interpretation. While one could argue that each artist in About Face channels Kermode’s hypothesis when developing artwork, it’s also apparent that the figure is the primary vehicle by which this message is conveyed. As such, the relationship between the intended subject matter and the continual reinterpretations bear witness to the possibilities found within the genre of narrative portraiture.
Artists included in the exhibition are Philip Guston, Trenton Doyle Hancock, Rashid Johnson, Mary Reid Kelley, Arnold J. Kemp, Amy Pleasant, and Carrie Mae Weems.
Curated by Marc Mitchell
Philip Guston, Sea, 1980. One color lithograph, Ed 50, 30 x 40 in. © Estate of Philip Guston / Courtesy of Barbara Krakow Gallery, Boston
Trenton Doyle Hancock, Hot Coals in Soul, 2010. Acrylic and mixed media on canvas, 84 x 114 in. © Trenton Doyle Hancock Courtesy of the artist and James Cohan, NY
Rashid Johnson, The New Negro Social and Athletic Club (Thurgood), 2008, Lambda print. © Rashid Johnson/Courtesy of Hauser & Wirth, NY. Collection of Darrell and Lisa Walker
Mary Reid Kelley, Swinburne’s Pasiphae, 2014. Video Still, © Mary Reid Kelley Courtesy of the artist and Fredericks & Freiser, NY
Arnold J. Kemp, Headless, 2015. Rubber latex, lemon peel, oil paint, welded steel, 46 ½ x 12 x 25 ¾ in. Courtesy of the artist and PDX Contemporary, Portland
Carrie Mae Weems, Mirror, Mirror, 1987-1988. Gelatin silver print, 20 x 16 in. © Carrie Mae Weems / Courtesy of Jack Shainman Gallery. Collection of Darrell and Lisa Walker
Amy Pleasant, Head #4, 2015. Fired and painted clay, 10 ½ x 8 x 8 ¼ in. Courtesy of the artist and Jeff Bailey Gallery, NY