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About Face

December 10, 2016 @ 5:00 PM - January 28, 2017 @ 5:00 PM

About Face
Featuring: Amy Sherald ’04, Roseal, Tim Okamura, and Ebony G. Patterson
December 10, 2016 – January 28, 2017

Opening reception: Saturday, December 10th, 6 – 8pm
Artist talk: Saturday, January 28th, 5pm – NEW DATE

Amy Sherald, the first woman to win the National Portrait Gallery’s prestigious Outwin Boochever Award (2016), an artist who is currently featured in the National Museum of African American Art and Culture, and on the cover of Smithsonian Magazine, is the center of the upcoming Creative Alliance exhibition About Face, opening Saturday, December 10th. Since she became a resident artist at Creative Alliance in 2014, Sherald’s painting career has experienced a rapid rise the international art scene, earning important and well-deserved recognition for her life-sized portraits. Through her work, along with Rozeal, Tim Okamura, and Ebony G. Patterson, the exhibition About Face turns its attention to under-represented communities, historically marginalized by the genre of portraiture, combining her portraits with a selection of the nation’s best contemporary figurative artists.

Each artist in the exhibition tackles stereotypes of race in different ways: Amy Sherald paints the flesh of her subjects in grayscale to remove specific connotations of skin tone and race all the while costuming them in a manner that contradicts the roles and stereotypes historically associated with black culture; Rozeal addresses the historical use of black face and the crinkling of hair in Japanese culture to make subjects appear more African. Additionally her paintings update the classical look of Japanese woodcuts with modern settings; Tim Okamura juxtaposes the rawness and urgency of street art with realistic technique to create an accessible visual language through portraiture; Jamaican artist Ebony G. Patterson creates highly embellished, collaged, and appliquéd tapestries, as well as photographic prints with subject matter that allude to bodies, yet lacks specificity.

The surface treatments, or “face” of each artist’s work, demand a deeper recognition from the audience that black identity is hardly as simple as it has been portrayed throughout western European art history. Through each artist’s work we are given, and asked to give, a more complex look at the composition of black identity and how it is perceived in society today.