The Status of Portraiture
While portraiture has long been seen as a sign of cultural 'status' and class distinction this survey of Los Angeles portraiture examines the varied approaches being taken up by today's painters with regard to rendering a likeness, not only of a seated subject, but of the subject of portraiture itself. These disparate approaches to re-imagining portrait painting not only include formal innovations but they also question many of the traditional assumptions of the genre. By challenging historical conventions such as naturalism, stability and easy identification of the subject, all of the painters in The Status of Portraiture challenge us to think differently about what constitutes a portrait in the 21st century. Conflating interior and exterior states with different personal and theoretical concerns the painters in The Status of Portraiture give us a new series of motifs for thinking about access to the image of another, and in so doing, perhaps even another route into thinking about ourselves.
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