Contemporary portrait exhibit opens at Upstairs Artspace

Published 8:37 pm Monday, October 3, 2011

The first contemporary portrait exhibit in the history of the Upstairs Artspace opens Friday, Oct. 7, with a public reception on Saturday, Oct. 8, 5 – 8 p.m. (during the Tryon Gallery Trot).
Just before the reception, from 4 – 5 p.m, is the “Walk and Talk” tour of the art conducted by exhibiting artists.

“Quiet Repose,” by Mathew Curran, is one of the works in the contemporary portrait exhibit opening Friday, Oct. 7 at the Upstairs Artspace.

Titled “Lines and Lives of the Face,” the new exhibit presents an overview of modern American portraiture as created by 14 artists from the Carolinas and New York City. They are: Kevin Clinton, Paul Flint, David Slone and Tim Speaker of Greenville, S.C.; Mathew Curran of Raleigh N.C.; James Esber of Brooklyn, N.Y.; Alli Good, Ursula Gullow, Taiyo La Paix, Brian Mashburn and Phillip McGuire of Asheville, N.C.; Dawn Hunter of Columbia, S.C.; Francesco Lombardo of Marshall, N.C., and Bob Trotman of Shelby, N.C.
All are well established in the genre of portraiture and work in numerous mediums, including paint, graphite, pen and ink, plasticine, wood, clay and mixed media.
Portraiture has been divided into two camps for hundreds of years, but particularly so beginning in the 20th century. On the one hand are portraits that attempt a photographic likeness; many of these are commissioned works. The other portraiture explores and exploits the face as a window to life experience, emotion, personality and soul. Such portraits are often as much about the artist as the artist’s subject and can reveal a relationship between the two. Famous portrait artists in modern times include Pablo Picasso, Alice Neel, Frida Kahlo, Lucien Freud, David Hockney and Chuck Close.
“Lines and Lives of the Face” includes a wide range of contemporary portraiture’s infinite variety. Examples are Slone’s wall of 36 kindergarten yearbook images; Speaker’s self-portraits of a time when he was temporarily blind; Gullow’s masked “zombies”; La Paix’s fantasy lover; McGuire’s use of negative space and Trotman’s carved heads.
Also on exhibit is“This is not a portrait,” a community art project consisting of drawings of Osama bin Laden rendered by 25 local artists and non-artists. The project is part of a much bigger one that began last fall in New York and has generated more than 160 drawings, all made from the same template created by “Faces” artist James Esber.
Baseball caps decorated with original portraits by Alli Good, another “Faces” artist, will be for sale to benefit the Upstairs.
The exhibit continues through Nov. 19. The Upstairs Artspace is open Tuesday – Saturday, 11 a.m. – 4 p.m. and by appointment. For further information call 828-859-2828.
– article submitted
by Nancy Holmes

Sign up for our daily email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox