Portraits: Masked/Unmasked curated by Barbara Koerble
July 6 - July 27, 2018
Reception: July 6, 2018; 6 - 9pm
“A photographic portrait is a picture of someone who knows he is being photographed, and what he does with this knowledge is as much a part of the photograph as what he's wearing or how he looks.” --Richard Avedon
Cameras have a significant effect on people when they are aware they are being photographed. An artificial or a defensive mask is typically presented by a self-aware subject to the camera. Most successful commercial photographers cater to their clients’ desire to appear at their best in their own portraits. They may collude with the individual in the creation and perfection of an idealized mask. Other photographers utilize various strategies to remove this mask-like barrier, often by catching their subject unawares in an unmasked moment.
This is an exhibition that examines both sides—the masked and the unmasked portrait. Some of these individuals are literally wearing a mask, some are wearing “the face they keep in the jar by the door” (John Lennon), and the images of others are obscured by the photographer or by the subject themselves. Sometimes an underlying aspect of the life of the photographed individual is revealed or unmasked by proximity, by unguarded facial expressions, or by objects in the photograph. Some photographs in the exhibition capture subjects that, knowingly or unwittingly, provide more insight into their real selves, temporarily letting the barrier drop. We get a glimpse of the inner person, and it can sometimes be disturbing. Other images that may disturb our complacency involve journalistic portraits of individuals in distress where we emphasize with the plight of the individual through our shared humanity. The subject of death has been depicted in deathbed portraits throughout history, which rather than being viewed as macabre, may in fact serve as a comforting remembrance of the beloved deceased. Whether the humanity of a deceased person is masked or unmasked in death is largely dependent upon the personal relationship and perspective of the viewer.
The exhibition was curated by Barbara Koerble, who is employed at the Afterimage Gallery, Dallas, the Amon Carter Museum of American Art in Fort Worth and teaches art at Tarrant County College. The curator has selected works by several generations of artists to provide their varied perspectives on portraiture. Artists included in the exhibition are: Cordelia Bailey, Kipp Baker, Kent Barker, Gary Bishop, Anthony Marcus Black, Abraham Cepeda, Tracy Costello, Lauren Cross, David Donovan, William Greiner, Inga Hendrickson, Leticia Huckaby, O. Rufus Lovett, John Carlisle Moore,Shelby Orr, Raul Rodriguez, Leo Wesson, Byrd Williams IV, Camille J. Wheeler