Through the Lens:
Portraiture & Self Portraiture
Carrie Mae Weems
November 6, 2014 - January 3, 2015
Through the Lens examines the process used by a diverse group of nationally and internationally recognized photographers as they explore the genres of portraiture and self portraiture. Each artist in this group uses their unique perspective to convey the mood of their subject whether it be human or inanimate, in a single glance. Justine Kurland and Alec Soth incorporate their subject's immediate environment into their portraits, focusing on the essence of the American experience. Arne Svensen’s controversial portraits taken of unaware subjects from his series The Neighbors, might be interpreted as invasive, while David Hilliard takes a more intimate approach in displaying the mood of his models. Robert Mapplethorpe captures the allure of the celebrity with his portrait of longtime friend Patti Smith, while Isaac Layman uses his unique process to focus on himself to produce a self portrait in keeping with his seemingly minimal yet painstakingly created style.
Delaney Allen is a Portland-based photographer, born in Fort Worth, Texas. In 2013, he was selected as one of the Magenta Foundations Emerging Photographers. That same year Allen attended photographer Alec Soth’s residency, Little Brown Mushroom Camp for Socially Awkward Story Tellers. Allen has exhibited nationally and internationally at the Tokyo Institute of Photography (Tokyo, Japan), Disjecta Contemporary Art Center (Portland, OR), Soap Factory Gallery (Minneapolis, MN) and Signal Gallery (New York, NY). Delaney Allen appears courtesy of Nationale (Portland, Oregon)
Chuck Close is an American painter and photographer renowned for his large-scale photo-based portrait paintings. Close is particularly known for his portraits of artists and celebrities such as Robert Rauschenberg, Cindy Sherman, Barack Obama and himself. Close’s interest in portraiture stems in part from his own physical limitations, as he suffers from the disorder prosopagnosia, an inability to recognize faces. Close’s work in included in numerous public collections such as the Museum of Modern Art (New York, NY), Walker Art Center (Minneapolis, MN), National Portrait Gallery (Washington D.C.) and the Museum of Fine Arts (Boston, MA).
Nan Goldin’s vibrantly colored photographs capture a world that is universally human yet intensely personal. Goldin creates a narrative, telling her subject’s story in a single frame. Goldin’s work has been the subject of two major retrospectives: one organized by the Whitney Museum of American Art (New York. NY) in 1996 and another in 2001 by the Centre Pompidou (Paris, France). Goldin has had numerous other solo exhibitions in institutions such as the Louvre Museum (Paris, France), Musei de Arte Moderna (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil) and the Museum of Fine Arts (Houston, TX).
David Hilliard strikes the balance between autobiographical and fictional in his photographs. He constructs panoramic photographs composed of multiple panels which guide the viewer through the narrative. Hilliard’s work is in public collections such as the Art institute of Chicago (Chicago, IL), Museum of Fine Arts (Boston, MA), Portland Art Museum (Portland, OR), Los Angeles County Museum (Los Angeles, CA) and the Whitney Museum of American Art (New York, NY).
Justine Kurland’s photographs present a rare and extraordinarily personal relationship to the physical reality of our country and its industrial and social fringes. Born in Warsaw, NY in 1969, Justine Kurland received her MFA in 1998 from Yale University. Since then, her work has been included in exhibitions at the Museum of Modern Art (New York, NY), the Institute of Contemporary Art (Philadelphia, PA), and many galleries and museums throughout the world. Her photographs are a part of the permanent collections of the Whitney Museum of American Art (New York, NY) and the Guggenheim Museum (New York, NY), among several others.
Isaac Layman is known for his compelling large format photographs of everyday objects from his own home. Often taking hundreds of images of a single item and then digitally weaving them together, Layman creates hyperreal photographic constructions. This intense examination of a commonplace object, such as a sink or medicine cabinet, yields intriguing details that are frequently overlooked. Layman’s works are included in numerous private and public collections, including the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston (Houston, TX), the Portland Art Museum (Portland, OR), the Seattle Art Museum (Seattle, WA) and the Walker Art Center (Minneapolis, MN).
Robert Lyons creates unique portraits with context that at first strikes one as familiar yet upon further examination reveal hidden layers. His extensive travels have allowed him to photograph subjects from Egypt to Ghana to Western Massachusetts. Lyons is a recipient of the Ford Foundation Fellowship and a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts. He has shown nationally and internationally for 40 years, including exhibitions at the DeCordova Museum and Sculpture Park (Lincoln, MA), Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, (Kansas City, MO), Henry Art Gallery (Seattle, WA), and the Seattle Art Museum (Seattle, WA).
Robert Mapplethorpe’s provocative portraits, largely of the most influential people of his time, established him as one of the most important artists of the twentieth century. His work can be found in the collections of major museums around the world such as Centre Pompidou (Paris, France), National Portrait Gallery (London, England), Whitney Museum of American Art (New York, NY) and the Museum of Modern Art (New York, NY).
Vik Muniz, photographer and mixed-media artist, is best known for repurposing everyday materials (often incorporating the very material being photographed) to create intricate and heavily layered artworks. His work can be found in the collection of Museu de Arte Moderna de São Paulo (São Paulo, Brazil), the Art Institute of Chicago, (Chicago, IL), the J. Paul Getty Museum (Los Angeles, CA), the Tate Gallery (London, England) and the Whitney Museum of American Art (New York, NY).
Alec Soth captures offbeat, intimate images of American life using a large-format 8x10 camera. He documents suburban and rural communities throughout the United States with his lush, painterly color print portraits and landscapes. Soth is included in collections such as the Brooklyn Museum (Brooklyn, NY), LA County Museum of Art (Los Angeles, CA), Walker Art Center (Minneapolis, MN) and the Israel Museum (Jerusalem, Israel).
Arne Svenson creates photographic portraits driven by a desire to capture the unique character of his subjects. First and foremost in Svenson's process is to discover the root, or spirit, of his subject. Svenson’s work can be found in public collections such as, the Carnegie Museum of Art (Pittsburgh, PA), Museum of Fine Arts (Houston, TX) and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (San Francisco, CA).
Carrie Mae Weems work explores issues of race, class, and gender identity. Activism is a central concern of her practice, Weems looks at history as a way of better understanding the present. Weems was born and raised in Portland, OR, her work can be found in collections such as the Art Institute of Chicago (Chicago, IL), Brooklyn Museum (Brooklyn, NY), Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York, NY) and the Whitney Museum of American Art (New York, NY).