Reporting Editor, Fine Art Today
Eleven contemporary artists' portrayals of the faces that move them most -- friends, family, muses, and strangers -- are currently on view in Savannah, Georgia, in an exhibition titled "About Face."
There is no route to the soul more direct and revealing than the face. The countenance, expression, and history the face displays can speak a thousand words, share inexplicable stories, and send signals stronger than any verbal communication. Painters have both the most challenging and most rewarding job when it comes to painting a portrait: if they can truly capture not only the physical appearance but also the inner spirit of their sitter, then they have succeeded in showing the world one person's life story. Throughout history portraitists have risen to fame for their ability to interpret a range of humanity, from popes, royalty, and dignitaries to peasants, paupers, and everyday people. But it is always the portraits of those the artist has the closest connection to, understands the most, and sees in a distinctly different way that make the most lasting and meaningful impression.
Anelecia Hannah, "Our Last Summer of Girlhood," 2012, oil on panel, 36 x 36 in.
Currently on view in Savannah, Georgia, is an exhibition titled "About Face," a contemporary group show that celebrates the continuing tradition of artists' translation of unfamiliar faces to the public. The subject matter ranges significantly and includes heavily symbolic portraits alluding to mythology and futurism, whimsical satires of strangely private moments, and commemorative portraits that capture a specific turning point in a life. In all cases, the artists pull relatable qualities from the people portrayed, reminding us that we are all connected through our shared experiences. Says "About Face" curator and exhibiting artist Melina Borysevicz of her triptych "Trinity," "These new paintings are a continuation of my exploration of the full experience of our feminine natures: the part in all of us (men and women alike) that is more attuned to birth-death-birth, to the influence of the moon, to the sensations that arise from the pit of our bellies, and to the memories we've collected in our souls rather than in our minds." Explains Adrienne Stein of her painting "Harvest Moon," "The portrait I completed for 'About Face' is of my youngest sister. Her distinct features, piercing eyes, and daring style inspired the painting, which combines elements of Victorian fashion, folklore, and sacred iconography."
The 11 artists exhibiting in "About Face" are Melinda Borysevicz, Angela Burson, Stephen Cefalo, Greg Eltringham, Anelecia Hannah, Jude Harzer, Jeff Markowsky, Patrick McKinnon, Christine Sajecki, Adrienne Stein, and Troy Wandzel. The exhibition will take place at S.P.A.C.E. -- a community cultural arts gallery managed by Savannah's Department of Cultural Affairs -- from July 12 through August 2, with an opening reception on July 12 from 5 to 7 p.m. For more information, visit www.savannahga.gov/index.aspx?nid=1037.
This article was featured in Fine Art Today, a new weekly e-newsletter from Fine Art Connoisseur magazine.