Galleries of Contemporary Art
Visiting Artists & Critics Series: Dr. Leanne Gilbertson

Visiting Artists & Critics Series: Dr. Leanne Gilbertson

March 13, 2014 | 5:00 PM

I'm Not There: Thoughts on Contemporary Portraiture

Leanne Gilbertson

The naturalistic Western portrait historically aspired to a likeness that was intended to represent the inner essence of the person depicted. To look into the face of the portrayed was intended to affirm the individuality of the sitter, the portraitist, and the viewer alike. To look at another and to represent that look has been understood as a primary human act.

In the age of manipulatable digital photographs, proliferating "selfies" on social media sites, and increasingly sophisticated visual technologies, genetic testing and molecular cloning that expand our understandings of the limits of human vision and life, what are we looking at and what are we looking for when we look at the representation of another? In the wake of deconstruction that challenges the notion of identity as a separate, bounded entity and of performance art that actively rejects reproductive representation to bypass art's commodification, what becomes of the genre of portraiture? What does contemporary portraiture look like? What kinds of subjects emerge from contemporary portraits and how?

This presentation will consider the status of contemporary portraiture-a genre that continues to inform contemporary interdisciplinary art practice.


This event is co-presented with: