The Curator's Selection for March examines the relationship between the face and the body in figurative painting. Art historians have long noted the way in which artists' depiction of the face or body can convey complex feelings around relationships, status and the physiological well being of their subject. The six artists featured in our selection use the face or the body to demonstrate the impact of interior complex and exterior setting in figuring the sitter.

In looking at portraiture, we see the way in which the face can shed light onto the psyche of the subject.  The exaggerated features and impassioned expressions captured by Jill Greenberg's lens offer insight into the physiognomy of her children and animal subjects. Whether piercing, still, calm, or fraught with suspicion, the gaze of the sitters in Shaun Downey's portraits convey the emotional state of each subject. Erin Armstrong reverses the traditional subjectivity of portraiture by insisting on imaginary anonymity. The onlooker “sees” in her paintings a familiar form upon which they can inscribe their own meaning and identity.

The body, adorned and in a formed in a distinct pose, has the ability of suggesting internal emotion within social and cultural settings. The graceful movement of the body, submerged under water in Barbara Cole's Falling Through Time series, communicates distinct emotions of fear, adventure or joy of a female figure in English country manor. The interaction of faceless figures in Katrin Korfmann's aerial photographs emphasize gesticulation and movement appropriate to the cultural happening or setting in which they're placed. Lastly, the soft focus figures in Virginia Mak's Character Reference series uses pose, costume, and setting to evoke the spirit of well known fictional characters.


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