Museum Thursday- Portraiture Now: Communities

This is going to be a quick post as I took my lunch to take a spin through this exhibition to get you a museum thursday post, which I know all of you await with bated breath weekly.  This weeks post is on Portraiture Now¦ Communities, currently on exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery until July 5th.  I know it might be a little late but I’ve been awfully busy and just haven’t gotten around to checking out any exhibitions lately (but more on that later). For now lets take a look at this show a little closer.

Portraiture Now¦ Communities features the work of 3 artist.  I’m going to go a little our of order in detailing the exhibition but you will understand why when you get to the end of this post.

located in the right hallway of the first floor of the gallery off the F street entrance the show begins with the works of Rebecca Westcott.  Her style is minimalist placing her subjects on white backgrounds with perhaps a few monotone designs in the background.  The pieces themselves are reminiscent of old magazine advertisements or perhaps the covers of Life magazine from the 40s.  Her subjects to not overly exude emotions yet they definitely have a character about them that draws you to take an extra moment to discover what it is her paintings are trying to say.

Rebecca Westcott

Jim Torok is a exceptionally gifted artist.  His technical skill is flawless.  His subjects are painted onto small blocks.  He believes that by depicting them all the same size illustrates the equality of the individuals in the community.  No one is more important than than another.  From far away the images look like photographs on blocks, it isn’t until you get up close and personal, which is rather fitting for this particular exhibition, that you see they are in fact oil paintings.  They are visually quite stunning as you marvel at the artists ability to capture the many highlights of one individuals blonde hair.  Jim definitely holds his own in the show.

Jim Torok

Following Rebecca Westcott we move on to, what I consider to be, the most moving of the works featured.  Rose Frantzen works on 1×1 ft canvases, her subjects are depicted in face only.  The lines up one next to the other in a grid like pattern.  As I walked into the first room I was surrounded by faces staring at me, literally staring.  The eyes of each individual are the most prominent aspect of canvas.  Frantzen has captured each and every individuals emotion into their eyes.  It’s jarring the way they look at you, as if the real individuals are looking into your own eyes and acknowledging your presence within their community.  I looked at every single one of these paintings and felt as though I knew these people somehow.  I saw the joy in the face of one woman, the peace in the face of a child, the thought and contemplation as one individual looked away focused on something off to the side.  This is what art is about, this connection that can only be achieved through the experiencing of it.  Frantzen has not only brought her community together through these paintings, she has brought the viewer into the community as well.

Rose Frantzen

well that’s all the time I have for today.  Hope you enjoy another museum thursday

image credits: national portrait gallery


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