A juried portraits exhibition featuring the works of 25 artists is now on display at the Scottsdale Civic Center Library.
“I Am You, You Are Me: Portraits” is a collection of just portraits that includes work by two Scottsdale artists.
The exhibit explores the question of “what does the artist see?”
“When someone is rendering a portrait, the line between the artist and the sitter are blurred, and the portrait is a representation of the relationship between artist and sitter, however brief or lengthy. There’s energy exchanged between these people,” explained curator Wendy Raisanen of Scottsdale Public Art.
Some pieces are portraits created by artists of fellow artists.
For example, longtime friends and collaborators Jane Kelsey-Mapel of Phoenix and Becky Frehse of Tacoma, Washington, created portraits of each other holding their dogs and posing with their artwork.
“As a visual artist, I am usually in the role of the observer. For this show, I became the subject matter as well,” Kelsey-Mapel said. “It was a bit like putting the shoe on the other foot. I thought ‘Oh, that’s how she sees me!’”
Other artists, including Dana Corbo of Scottsdale, not only submitted depictions of another subject, but they also submitted self-portraits.
Corbo titled the self-portrait “Stubborn.”
“For my self-portraits, I choose to share a more holistic story about myself,” Corbo wrote in a statement accompanying his piece. “Because I am compulsively honest, I wanted to highlight my bad qualities in addition to my good ones.”
Corbo continued: “In ‘Stubborn,’ I painted a portrait of myself with brutal honesty, exaggerating the leg hair I stubbornly refuse to shave.”
The two paintings focus on opposite features.
In her self-portrait, Corbo shows her entire body from a low angle, offering few facial details. Her other painting, “Nicholas in Trouble,” focuses on her subject’s face.
“I wanted to reflect the hard and soft dichotomy that I see in his personality,” Corbo wrote. “In his personality, I painted an expression that may seem gruff initially, like he does when you meet him, but is full of concern and deep feeling.”
Corbo said that analyzing a person and then reconstructing them through painting brings her joy.
“The challenge of painting a face, revealing a person’s character, is equal to the reward of doing it successfully,” Corbo said.
Fellow Scottsdale artist Lilach Keren will exhibit a mixed media self-portrait.
“Reflection” is unique in that it shows half of Keren’s face, with her daughters’ faces reflected in her eyes.
“During a particularly complex time, it came to me: handling the current realities, trying to cope with my work and aspirations on the one hand and the need to be there for my family on the other,” Keren explained.
The exhibition also features Susan Allred (Tempe), Laura Amphlett (Phoenix), Neil Borowicz (Tempe), Rebecca Clark (Tucson), Turner Davis (Phoenix), Katherine Del Rosario (Tempe), Jerome Fleming (Phoenix), Lex Gjurasic (Tucson);
Others include Dain Q. Gore (Laveen), Ira Grin (Chandler), Tiesha Harrison (Phoenix), Galya Kerns (Litchfield Park), Kathi Knox (Phoenix), Brianna Noble (Phoenix), Eliza Plumlee (Tucson), Kara Roschi (Phoenix), Alexandra Ross (Mitchell, Manitoba, Canada), William Touhey (Tucson), Chris Vena (Tempe), Johanna Virgil (Goodyear), Ingrid Wells (San Francisco) and Wendy Willis (Phoenix).
“I Am You, You Are Me: Portraits” will remain in the library for viewing through June 21.