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PORTRAITURE - AN EXHIBITION Curated by Shane Guffogg


  • Orange County Center for Contemporary Art 117 North Sycamore St. Santa Ana, CA 92701 USA (map)

NOVEMBER 11-DECEMBER 22, 2017
RECEPTION SATURDAY NOVEMBER 11 5-8PM

An exhibition featuring selective work consisting of paintings, mixed media and drawings, by Southern California and internationally acclaimed artists,  Xander Berkeley, Don Bachardy, Jeff Britton, Shane Guffogg, Laura Hipke, Doro Hoffman, Michael Lindsay – Hogg, Deborah Martin, Ed Ruscha, Paul Ruscha, and Vonn Sumner.

Deborah Martin, Portraits of Autism -
Eddie at Five, 2017 Oil on canvas 42x52"

Portraiture goes back in time to the stone ages (some 30,000 plus years ago), and continues all the way through to today. Images of the human face have served as a vessel to carry ideas of who we were – and are – throughout the centuries, ranging from the idealized forms of the Sumerians and Egyptians, to the naturalized images of Greeks and Romans and back again to stylized images of the Byzantine era, only to find a new idealized form of realism in the 1400’s, now commonly known as the Renaissance.

Each style change was prompted or accompanied by a change of ideas of how the people thought about their world and their place in it. By the beginning of the 20th century, Picasso's portraits had run the full gamut of every style that had preceded him until he took his cue from the new ideas of science (relativity) and began fragmenting his images, creating multiple of views, simultaneously.

And then there is Andy Warhol and his use of photography and screen printing to replicate the mid 20th century's world of images, showing us not only how we see but how the images are made.

That leads us up to today. But one big difference between where we are now versus where we were, even 10 years ago, is that throughout history their have been trends that get coined as an “Ism” like French Impressionism. But in our technologically driven- information age, there is no one style or idea that dominates the artistic landscape.

In fact it is just the opposite because now with a click on the mouse or keypad, virtually any image from anywhere in the world is available. I like to think of the computer screen as a portal into a 4th dimension where the past and present are all there, existing simultaneously.

So what does that do to art and more to the point, portraiture? The answer, in part, is that any and all artistic styles are available to draw from. Until now, there really has not been any rules that claim what is fashionable or relevant. The main objective of portraiture, as best I can figure, is to really see ourselves – both physically and emotionally, and hopefully gain insight and understanding into what we call the Human Condition.

Portraiture is much more than capturing a likeness of someone. It goes deep into our past like an underground river, resurfacing as our future. The artists and artworks I have chosen for the Portrait exhibition at Orange County Center for Contemporary Art add to a larger picture that is both a vision of our reality and a psychological reflection of what that reality is. I admire what these artists are doing – making images- which is a tradition and form of communication that is as old as humanity itself.

Some of these artists tell stories, others imply stories, others depict a moment as fact. Some capture that moment with a gestural brushstroke that becomes a visual metaphor. In some, the colors are pushed into a seemingly different dimension. And some look like a strange scene from a film that was (maybe) never made.

They all add up to what I think of as a snapshot that is being driven by a need to understand and reflect about what it means to be human in the beginning of the 21st century.

Curator – Shane Guffogg

Earlier Event: July 28
PORTRAITS OF AUTISM