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Asking a landscape artist to do portraiture is like asking Neil Young to perform hip-hop, or Cee Lo to dance a ballet.
But stepping outside the box is what art is all about, and it’s the inspiration behind Face Yourself, Elliott Fouts Gallery’s first-ever exhibit devoted to self-portraiture. The invitational, on display Jan. 5–31 and featuring the work of some 21 artists, is a bold new adventure for the midtown gallery and a unique challenge for the participating artists, says Michelle Satterlee, gallery director.
“Most of these artists haven’t done a portrait of themselves since they were in school—in some cases 25 to 30 years ago,” says Satterlee. While most of them are classically trained and dabble in all genres, she adds, they are not necessarily at home doing figurative work. Many, such as Terry Pappas and Bryan Mark Taylor, are known for their luscious landscapes.
“I can’t wait to see what they’ve come up with, especially since I’ve given them no parameters on medium,” says Satterlee. “I just told them, basically, ‘There are no rules. You can paint a conventional portrait of yourself, or go wild.’”
Self-portraiture also can open the door to a kind of psychological probing that may not happen when rendering the perfect pear or oak tree. “The artists are looking within and determining what they want viewers to see, what they want to express,” says Satterlee. Think van Gogh’s bandaged ear or Frida Kahlo’s provocative self-portraits.
Satterlee hopes Face Yourself, with its up-close-and-personal approach, will attract art aficionados and mainstreamers alike.
“It just beckons the viewer to almost face themselves, to think about who they are,” she says.
Elliott Fouts Gallery is at 1831 P St. in Sacramento. For more information, call (916) 736-1429 or visit efgallery.com.