Traditionally, the role of the portrait was to capture a “likeness” of a person in a way that spoke primarily to the subject’s social identity. By contrast, the approach of contemporary artists is more personal and complex. At times the portrait becomes an intersection of the inner life of artist and subject. An artist’s style and choice of media can evoke a unique human presence hidden beneath objective appearances. Yet even when an artist’s depiction is realistic, the resulting image can be embedded with personal references and unexpected meanings.
This exhibition of works from the KIA’s permanent collection explores how artists explore different aspects of the human experience through the unique presence of their subjects. Portraits by Jack Beal, Jim Dine, Gregory Gillespie, Alex Katz and Andy Warhol, plus works by Michigan artists Jerry Diment, Ken Freed, Al Harris and Ann Meade are among those on view.