Portraiture: A Private Room
May 19, 2020–June 21, 2020
“Every portrait that is painted with feeling is a portrait of the artist, not of the sitter. The sitter is merely the accident, the occasion.” -Oscar Wilde, The Picture of Dorian Gray
Portraiture: A Private Room has been conceived of from home – the site of intimate gestures, reflection, and deep concentration. Included are recent portraits by Luis Flores, Katy Grannan, Meleko Mokgosi, Robert Pruitt, and Richard Wyatt Jr. accompanied by vintage works by Lyle Ashton Harris and Timothy Washington.
Through solitude and precarity, this is both a time of introspection and community – a moment we might reconnect. The nature of portraiture is tied to a contemplative and reflective mindset, one where the artist must examine the subject and themselves forensically. Portrait-making offers a process of slowing down, exploration, and delving into those beautiful, often complicated details that make up a person.
This process is ever-present in the exceptionally detailed drawings of Richard Wyatt Jr., whose work we are proud to introduce. For Wyatt, meditative mark-making is an element inseparable from his work. Timothy Washington’s figures emerge through a subtractive process of removing pigment fixed atop metal surfaces. Lyle Ashton Harris and Luis Flores examine their own identities while inhabiting others. Katy Grannan’s new portraits take us to the Blackfeet Nation, where family members and the extended tribe remember those who have disappeared. Meleko Mokgosi and Robert Pruitt dive into the personal histories and objects that comprise a life. Together these works offer a small insight into our collective humanity and provide a moment to pause, breathe, and hope.