It Could Be You: Portraiture in a Constructed Worldby Matthew Innis |
Traveling from the New York Artists Equity Gallery, Portraits, Inc. is proud to host It Could Be You: Portraiture in a Constructed World, a comprehensive group exhibition of contemporary portraits juried by Hyeseung Marriage-Song, Portraits, Inc. owner Beverly McNeil, and Portraits, Inc. artist Patricia Watwood. The show features more than 30 international multidisciplinary artists whose work explores both the purpose and limits of portraiture, identity, and the self in the modern digital age.
Somewhere between the introduction of cheap camcorders and the proliferation of smart phones we became distrustful of our body’s ability to mediate directly with the physical world. To a large extent we have exchanged the sensual perceptions emanating from our surroundings for simulated experiences that mitigate reality through camera lenses and digitalized imagery. Once understood to be aide-mémoirs of life’s lived experiences, the media is reality—a reality comprising instantly sharable content validated or refuted by social media emojis.
That’s a risky way to construct one’s universe. How can we hope to fix an identity, let alone one informed by ethical principles, on a mutating digital stage that is subject to the whims of marketing algorithms and bots on a mission? Given present conditions, it’s no wonder that our instinct to ascertain “what’s real” has devolved into an addicting stalk for pleasure hits that never quite satiate an appetite weaned on spectacle.
That said, can we stake out what is abiding, true and stable about us and our fellows? In an increasingly alarming and chaotic era, art that depicts what is actually there and recognizable is defiant–and nothing could be more necessary and reassuring at the moment than simply showing what we actually look like (and mean) to each other.
It Could Be You will be on view in our Birmingham gallery from January 23rd through February 20th, 2020. For further information about the exhibition or commissioning a portrait by one of our artists, please call 800.476.1223 or e-mail us.