PELHAM, NY — Pelham Art Center is delighted to present a closing reception and artist talk for Near To You, its current group show of portrait painting and sculpture. The reception will take place Saturday, March 24 from 2:00-3:30 and the artist talk will begin at 2:30 pm.
Washington, D.C.-based artist Tim Doud, and Brooklyn artists John Mitchell, Heather Morgan and Jenny Dubnau will be present to speak. Artist Donna Festa will participate via Skype from Bangor, Maine. The artists will talk about their work and take questions from the public.
Inspired by Nina Simone’s taunting version of the famous show tune Near To You, this exploration of portraiture searches for the imperfect and intimate clues that impart meaning to our countenance. Near to You features painting and sculpture by six artists that is directly in tune with the “strikingly different approach” to portraiture exemplified in the recently unveiled portraits of former First Lady Michelle and President Barack Obama. These works push the discussion of representation into the spotlight. How faithful must an artist be to its subject’s likeness? What role does symbolism play? How do gender, race, age and other aspects of identity influence the work? What effect does the image have on the viewer?
A full color catalog and essay has been printed for the exhibition and can also be downloaded from the Art Center website.
About the Artists:
TIM DOUD’S “Blue” is comprised of thirty 30 by 22 inch self-portraits painted over a four-year period. The artist strikes a similar pose and wears a series of blue shirts and eyewear acquired for the sole purpose of being painted. “The serial portrait interests me because time and other factors make each portrait different. Each of these portraits represents – and misrepresents – at the same time,” says the artist.
JENNY DUBNAU paints realistic portraits using photographs as references – and in doing so, explores the relationship between photography and the realist tradition in portraiture. Her portraits and self-portraits capture the kind of enigmatic facial expressions particular to photography that may or may not belie the subject’s real feelings or actual circumstances.
DONNA FESTA makes tiny, remarkable oil paintings and sculptures of older people. “These are narratives,” the artist says. “Each painting is a story, an encounter, a race against time.” No specifics are needed, because the human condition is the story of everyone. The paintings are as much about capturing the nature of the subjects, as they are about showing the expressive nature of paint.
JOHN MITCHELL’S self portrait, the artist’s single work in the show, declares a strong sense of the physical presence of the artist. Infused with his commanding knowledge of the history of art and art making through the ages, the self-portrait embodies the influences of the masters.
HEATHER MORGAN’S restless brushwork underscores a raw, live-wire intensity in her cinematically-styled portraits and self-portraits. “Beauty quivers with pain and flaw,” says the artist.
JULIA SCHWARTZ is a self-taught artist comfortable with the doubt and uncertainty of working without a formal technique. Colorful, abstract figures “slip in and out” of her paintings, hinting at surrealist practices and darker psychological states.
About the Curators:
ALEXANDRA RUTSCH BROCK is an artist, educator and independent curator. She has curated over 50 exhibitions both locally and in NYC and served as a Gallery Advisory Board member at the Pelham Art Center since 2006. She has been teaching at New Rochelle High School since 1991, as well as local venues.
ELIZABETH SAPERSTEIN holds an MA from Purchase College (SUNY) in Contemporary Art Criticism and Theory. She has served as a Gallery Advisory Board member at the Pelham Art Center since 2004, where she has organized many exhibitions and programs. A former adjunct assistant professor of multimedia studies at the University of the Arts and program coordinator for the Charles Mingus Jazz Workshop, Elizabeth currently works as assistant to deans at the Scarsdale Public Schools and as a volunteer museum educator at the Rubin Museum of Art.