By Maureen Federo
Contemporary artists will display their unique personalities through self-portraits at the Kalamazoo Institute of Arts (KIA) Portraits Exhibition, open through August 20. The self-portraits present the artists’ ability to express inner life and social identity with their signature styles.
The display features work from Chuck Close, Al Harris, Kenneth Freed, Andy Warhol and many other artists.
“The most famous one we have down here is the Gerald Ford piece by Warhol. He [Ford] died a few years ago, and they say it’s his most famous portrait,” said Mark Watson, Chief of Security at the KIA.
The portraits exhibition, “Portraits and Presence,” includes American artists who depict themselves through unique techniques. Close expresses himself using only fingerprints to define his features in his piece entitled “Phil-Fingerprint,” for example.
Tom Rice, Professor of Art at Kalamazoo College, notes that portraits can project different messages through the use of color.
“Intense contrasts in hue would create a dramatically different reading of a painting than subtle gradations of color,” he said.
Junior Sandrine Zilikana thinks about specific techniques as well when painting self-portraits. “I have to choose an angle first and the lighting that will give me the shadows or highlights that I want. Each angle gives me a different message,” she said.
Interested readers can visit the Kalamazoo Institute of Arts’ website, http://www.kiarts.org/, for more information on upcoming exhibits.