More Than Your Selfie

More Than your selfie

New Museum Los Gatos – January 21, 2016 – May 15, 2016

More Than Your Selfie is an exhibit about the genre and practice of self-portraiture featuring works in a range of media that examine art, history, psychology, culture, identity and community.

It is an enduring tradition for humans to create self-portraits. Since the Renaissance, a growing emphasis on individuality and the flourishing spirit of inquiry created fertile ground for this genre. Because self-portraits merge the artist and sitter into one, they have the allure of a private diary, in that they seem to give us, as viewers, an artist’s insight into a personal story. Self-portraits are more than reflections of what the artist sees in the mirror, they are part of a complex aesthetic language used to visualize form, convey ideas and express feeling.

In its many forms, the self-portrait is used to mark one’s presence, to convey, construct and test identity and beliefs, and to celebrate or promote individuality and skills. Self-portraits are utilized to facilitate healing, record life changes, events or aging. The self-portrait is also a tool for introspection. Self-representation has evolved over time; its numerous aspects, motives and intentions are as varied and unique as each person. Previous generations strived to transcend restrictions related to gender, class, ethnicity and sexuality, and they concealed social or physical difference. After centuries of change affirming our autonomy, civil and political rights and gender equality, self-portraiture is revealing and difference is embraced. It is now an era of open self-exploration. With the Internet and social media, it is also an age of virtual identity as we construct our ideal selves, posting the ubiquitous selfie and sharing our selected experiences on-line.

In the 21st century, our notion of the individual is examined and influenced by the tools of science and knowledge from every discipline. Informed and unconstrained, taboos removed, artists are free to choose nudity, unnatural poses, or reveal the painful effects of age and disease. They utilize non-representational ways to convey identity with color, composition, and symbols. Regardless of the style, intention or methods, the self-portrait is a product of thoughtful and thorough introspection. The eighteen artists featured in this exhibit work in a variety of media. Their self-portraits become a door into their art practice and personal expression, referencing history, exploring identity, revealing psychology and making meaningful connections that we all share in common.

Artists exhibited: Robert Arenson, Hung Liu, Judy Dater, Julie Heffernan, Nina Katchadourian, Alex Kanevsky, Travis Collinson, Kim Frohsin, Elizabeth Barlow, Jackie Kirk, Paul Gibson, Linda Christensen, Phillip Hua, Cristina Nunez, Danny Scheible, Erin Feller, Ray Turner and Katy Schneider

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