September 2–October 16, 2022
Exclusively in the online gallery
Portraiture is often defined as the art of depicting exact likeness or appearance, yet it varies greatly through time and place, in cultures and traditions. The crafting of a subject’s identity may challenge our expectations and assumptions about what form a portrait can take. This exhibition of portraits, ranging from Elizabeth Catlett, Kalyani Devi, Yasuo Kuniyoshi, Dorothea Lange, Ben Shahn, Max Weber, and others, displays a visual dialogue between both artist and artist, and artist and viewer, a place to begin a conversation.
See programs scheduled for this exhibition
This exhibition is curated by Syracuse University Art Museum and organized by Lucinda Dukes Edinberg and Thomas May.
We thank the following for their continuous funding and support: Anne Arundel County, Arts Council of Anne Arundel County, the City of Annapolis, The Helena Foundation, the J.M. Kaplan Fund, the Maryland State Arts Council, the Estate of Elizabeth Myers Mitchell, the Mitchell Gallery Board of Advisors, Members of the Mitchell Gallery, Mrs. Ruth Mitchell, the John and Hilda Moore Fund, the Lillian Vanous Nutt Mitchell Gallery Endowment, and the Clare Eddy and Eugene V. Thaw Fine Arts Fund.
Gustave Jean Jacquet
[Portrait of a girl], no date
Oil on canvas
Annie Walter Arents Collection. Gift of George Arents, 0040.032
Jacquet worked in Paris and studied exclusively with the French academic painter William-Adolphe Bouguereau, a staunch traditionalist known for modern interpretations of Classical subjects. In 1865 Jacquet made his debut at the Salon and began to paint portraits, particularly of women and children. This portrait conforms to the Academic tradition of highly realistic portraiture with nearly invisible brushstrokes, much in the style of Bouguereau. However, by the time this painting was created, likely the latter part of the nineteenth century, the loose brushstrokes of the Impressionist movement had triumphed as the leading style.
American, born Lithuania, 1898–1969
1943 AD, c. 1943
Tempera on paper pressboard
Gift of Chancellor William Pearson Tolley ’22, 1960.034
Ben Shahn emigrated with his family from Lithuania to Brooklyn, New York, in 1906. He began his art studies at New York University, the City College of New York, and at the National Academy of Design. The source for this work is based on a photograph Shahn took of an Arkansas farmer during the Great Depression. In several iterations, Shahn used the man’s portrait with slightly different backgrounds and lines of text superimposed around the figure. One version had the words “Slavery- THE ENEMY METHOD” printed on it and was intended to be used by the Office of War Information for their anti-Nazi propaganda program. Another was developed for the Congress of Industrial Organizations that used the figure of the man without the barbed wire and read “WARNING! INFLATION means DEPRESSION REGISTER VOTE.” Shahn is widely regarded as one of America’s most important Social Realist painters.
American, b. Russia, 1881–1961
Picture Admirers, 1952
Museum Purchase, 1960.038
Max Weber, the son of Orthodox Jewish parents, immigrated to the United States from Bialystok, Russia (now Poland) in 1891. In 1905 he left for Paris to study at the Académie Julian, gravitating toward avant-garde circles, studying with Matisse and becoming associated with other influential artists in the Cubist movement such as Picasso, Apollinaire, and Delaunay. Upon his return four years later, he conveyed his first-hand knowledge and experience to introduce Cubism to America. His early work was met with criticism, but by 1930 he found success with exhibitions at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City, the Whitney Museum and other major institutions. Around 1920, Weber abandoned Cubist abstraction and began to paint in a more representational style. The influences of German Expressionism and Fauvism can be seen in this work of the two seated women through the composition that forgoes traditional realism and symmetry in favor of expressive lines and darts of energetic color.
David Alfaro Siqueiros
[Portrait of Moisés Sáenz], 1931
Lithograph on wove paper
Museum Purchase, 1960.130
David Alfaro Siqueiros was known as part of “Los Tres Grandes” or the “Three Great Ones,” along with José Orozco and Diego Rivera. Together they led the Mexican mural movement of the 1920s and 1930s, revolutionizing mural content and style by portraying Mexico’s rich history and contemporary economic problems in visually bold political terms. Siqueiros, a follower of Karl Marx, believed public murals were a powerful and effective medium to make his work accessible to a broad audience traditionally ignored by elitist art institutions. This portrait depicts Moisés Sáenz, an important reformer of education in Mexico. Homage to the country’s pre-Conquest cultures is seen through his use of geometric volumetric shapes inspired by the ancient Olmec heads from Veracruz.
[Portrait of Louis XIV], 1701
Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Hillard Rentner, 1963.0109
Hyacinthe Rigaud first studied as a tailor in his father’s workshop before turning to painting in 1671. He studied the works of Flemish, Dutch, and Italian art such as Rembrandt, Titan, Rubens, and Van Dyck. When he arrived in Paris in 1681, he quickly gained notoriety and won the Prix de Rome the following year. He established himself as one of the most important portrait painters in the court of Louis XIV, gaining the loyalty of the Bourbon dynasty over many generations. This grand portrait of Louis XIV demonstrates Rigaud’s instincts for grandiose poses and presentations—a feature most popular among the bourgeois, ambassadors, nobility, and other monarchs. He is considered of one the most notable French portraits of the Classical period. A similar larger version of this work may be found in the Musée Condé in France.
Forbidden Fruit, 1950
Museum Purchase, 1964.053
Yasuo Kuniyoshi was among the most important figures in American modernism. After immigrating to the United States from Japan in 1906, Kuniyoshi lived briefly in Seattle, then moved to Los Angeles and, subsequently, to New York where he studied at the Robert Henri School and the Independent School. He furthered his studies at the Art Students League where Kenneth Hayes Miller had a profound impact on his career. As a painter, printmaker and photographer, he rose to prominence in New York in the 1920s, exhibiting with such notable artists as Stuart Davis, Edward Hopper, Reginald Marsh, and Georgia O’Keeffe. He developed an idiosyncratic painting style with subtle color harmonies and simplified shapes, oddly proportioned figures and eccentric handling of space and scale. This color painting is believed to be a metaphorical self-portrait.
Mississippi Girl, 1945
Lithograph on wove paper
Museum Purchase, 1966.267
Marion Greenwood, painter, muralist, lithographer and teacher, was born in Brooklyn, New York. She attended the Art Students League in New York where she studied with John Sloan, George Bridgman and Frank Vincent DuMond. In 1932, she traveled to Mexico and became acquainted with “Los Tres Grandes”—Diego Rivera, David Siqueiros, and José Orozco. Upon her return to New York in 1936, she became part of the WPA Federal Arts Projects, later focusing on lithography and easel paintings. Although Greenwood became known for her mural work, she painted Mexican workers, African American dancers, Haitian Vodou practitioners, and Chinese farmers—working to reveal the individual beyond the idea of “ethnic” types. In a 1948 review in “American Artist,” she was praised for her award-winning portrait of the African American Mississippi Girl as revealing “the uncanny power of this artist to capture and dramatize the inner, as well as the outer, nature of her subjects.”
Chief Henry Speck
Wo-Kes the Frog, c. 1967
Screenprint on wove paper
Museum Purchase, 1967.228
Chief Henry Speck was born on Turnour Island, British Columbia. He was a member of the Tlawitsis nation of the Kwakwaka'wakw (Kwakiutl people). As a young teen, he was initiated as a Hamatsa dancer and became a skilled ceremonial songwriter. Speck succeeded his father as chief of the Tlawitsis Nation and was given the name Ozistalis, meaning “the greatest.” As a self-taught artist Speck worked primarily in watercolor and woodcarving. His first solo exhibition was in 1964 at the New Design Gallery. This screen print depicts a bilaterally symmetrical frog with two faces. One face looks up at the viewer from the bottom of the image, the other looks over the body of the frog. The graphic black and white image draws homage to the traditional wood carving methods by the Kwakiutl, which feature bold and expressive lines. The tradition of the Kwakwaka'wakw people believe that their ancestors came to their inhabited places in the form of animals, which remains a highly respected tradition in Kwakiutl’s visual culture.
English, b. 1928
Transparency, Che Guevara, 1969
Screenprint on acrylic and cellulose on wood relief
Gift of Steven and Bernice Sohacki, 1979.0100
Joe Tilson studied at St. Martin’s School of Art and then the Royal College of Art in England. He received the Rome Prize and spent two years in Italy, initially working in a realist style and then became active in the Pop Art movement in the 1960s. By the end of the 1960s Tilson had a growing disillusionment with the consumerism of society, and he became intensely involved in anti-authoritarian politics, portraying such figures as Ho Chi Minh, Malcolm X, and Ernesto “Che” Guevara. Guevara served as Fidel Castro’s chief lieutenant during the Cuban Revolution that toppled the regime of Dictator Fulgencio Batista. Guevara was captured and murdered in 1967 by the Bolivian army. In the wake of his slaying, Guevara became a martyr and a symbol for socialist revolutionary movements throughout the world. This work, created two years after his death, portrays a photograph of Guevara in the format of a film cell. Tilson wanted to draw attention to how Guevara might be memorialized by popular media like film and print after his passing.
Edna St. Vincent Millay, 1927
Gelatin silver print
Gift of Elizabeth Y. Pahk, 1981.2133
Berenice Abbott was a central figure and important bridge between the photographic circles and cultural hubs of Paris and New York. In 1918 she studied sculpture independently, meeting and making vital connections with Marcel Duchamp and Man Ray, leaders of the American avant-garde. In 1921, Abbott moved to Paris and continued her study of sculpture, later, going to Berlin where she mastered photography. She returned to Paris to become an assistant at the Man Ray studio. Abbott photographed poet Edna St. Vincent Millay (1892–1950) in 1927, just four years after Millay won the Pulitzer Prize for poetry. Abbott photographed Millay wearing a fashionably boyish suit and tie, yet her troubled expression betrays many of her deeper concerns.
Swiss, b. Germany, 1930–1998
Someone Among Foreigners, 1974
Acrylic and collage on wove paper mounted on masonite
Gift of Mr. Robert Layton, 1981.3313
Avant-garde artist Dieter Roth began his career in commercial art, but became part of Op Art, Fluxus, and the Concrete art movements. Artists’ books, literature, and found materials were frequent mediums for his early works as he developed his own style of experimentation with two-dimensional and sculptural works. In 1960 Roth won the William and Norma Copley Award which funded a semi-autobiographical artist book, the Copley Book (1965), and marked his expansion into Europe, Iceland, and America. Roth represented Switzerland in 1982 at the Venice Biennale. Shortly before his death, he received the prestigious Swiss art prize, the Genevan Prix Caran d'Ache Beaux Art. This artwork, titled Someone Among Foreigners, depicts an abstracted portrait layered with paint and paper. The image highlights a feeling of tension through the chaotic lines and dissonant tones of red and black that move frantically throughout the work. The pool of pale pink acrylic paint sits on top of the collage as if displaced from the surrounding colors.
Manuel Álvarez Bravo
Margarita de Bonampak, 1949
Gift of Stephen Kutz, 1984.805G
Initially self-taught, Manuel Álvarez Bravo’s style developed through study of foreign and local photography journals where he first encountered the work of Edward Weston and Tina Modotti, both of whom came to Mexico in 1923. Modotti became a close colleague and supporter and introduced him to the artists of Mexico’s avant-garde, including Diego Rivera, Frida Khalo and Rufino Tamayo. Mexico was a cultural hub for many in the international avant-garde at this time. Surrealist writer André Breton visited and included Álvarez Bravo in the Exposition of Surrealism he organized in 1940 in Mexico City. Although the artist never identified with Surrealism, it was a major theme in the analysis of his pictures throughout his career. Revealing the influence of his formative years following the Mexican Revolution of 1910, Álvarez Bravo would, instead, speak of his interest in representing the cultural heritage, peasant population, and indigenous roots of the Mexican people in the face of rapid modernization.
Uploading the Catch, c. 1936
Wood engraving on wove paper
Museum purchase, 1988.016
Born and raised in New York City, Louis Breslow studied at the National Academy of Design. During the 1930s he was employed by the Public Works of Art Project (PWAP), the Federal Art Project and the New York City WPA Art Project. His work during this period often explored hard physical labor, from poor tenant farmers to commercial fishermen, like the ones pictured here. Breslow effectively combined a recognizable scene of men unloading a catch with a modern, flattened picture plane and simplified compositional elements. The wood engraving medium heightens the combination by emphasizing the image’s linearity through beautifully sharp contrasts between the dense black ink and the white paper. Through his clear technical prowess, this engraving is as much a portrait of the artist as it is of Depression-era laborers.
La Lucha, 1968
Oil on canvas
Gift of Samuel T. Pees G’59, 1988.264
Carpani began his art studies in Paris, initially working as a model for other artists, then became an artist himself. He returned to Buenos Aires in 1952 and together with other artists and film makers he founded the Espartaco movement, following the postulates of Mexican muralism, David Siqueiros, José Orozco, Diego Rivera, as well as the Brazilian muralist Candido Portinari. Carpani was sympathetic to social causes and his paintings focused on topics like the unemployed, working people, and the poor, as well as nationalistic themes. La Lucha, (The Struggle) was created two years after Juan Carlos Onganía’s coup d'état and President Arturo Illia was overthrown. This painting depicts strong, solid, and determined men—elements he maintains in his work throughout his career.
South Asian Indian, Mithila Region
[Festival dance, bridal party], c. 1975
Watercolor and ink on wove paper
Gift of Professor H. Daniel Smith, 1989.112
Although little is known about the artist, this work features bright colors and flat views of the bride and her attendants. Color symbolism in India dates back to ancient times. It was mainly linked to the three Gunas (qualities)—the combinations of which directed the flow of movement in the Universe. By tradition, red is customarily worn by the bride indicating the “divine spark.” Light, vivid and bright colors like pink, yellow, red, and orange are associated with happiness, prosperity, and passion, certainly the sentiment evident in this painting.
Frederick Douglass, 1991
Gift of the artist, 1991.095
At first glance, Bettina Chapman’s portrait of Frederick Douglass looks like many 19th-century images of the famous abolitionist. Painted in a traditional bust length pose, Douglass is quickly recognizable through his long, pressed white hair and full grey beard. However, she effectively alters Douglass’ eyes. Their fierce determination, characterized in so many popular photographs, is gone and replaced with a more introspective, questioning gaze. Chapman depicts the post-Civil War Douglass in the spirit of advocating for women’s rights. standing beside Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony. Douglass, together with Elizbeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony, they formed the American Equal Rights Association in 1866 that demanded universal suffrage. Bettina Chapman was president of the Board of Trustees at the Everson Museum of Art in Syracuse, New York.
[Woman making tea], c. 1880
Gift of Dr. and Mrs. Henry Rosin, 1992.546
Ueno Hikoma was a noted 19th-century Japanese photography pioneer and teacher who came from a family of portrait painters. He was favored by many of Japan’s notable figures and he portraiture gained popularity nationally and internationally. Unlike many of his contemporaries, Hikoma kept his photographs in black and white, resisting hand coloring photographs, a popular practice at that time. This photograph implements an oval shape to frame the image of a seated woman in traditional attire making tea next to an elaborate vase of flowers. Hikoma focuses equally on the figure and the importance of the “Japanese Tea Ceremony”, a ceremonial preparation or “Way of Tea,” a centuries long tradition that holds a significant role in Japanese culture.
Linocut on wove paper
Museum Purchase, 1998.068
Elizabeth Catlett explored themes relating to race and feminism in her range of sculpture, paintings, and prints. She enrolled at Howard University and went on to study under Grant Wood at the University of Iowa, becoming the first African American woman to graduate with an MFA from the school. In the 1940s she traveled to Mexico on a fellowship and began to paint murals influenced by the work of Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo—responding to issues of segregation and the fight for civil rights. This print was likely inspired by Dorothea Lang’s c. 1937 photograph Ex-Slave with Long Memory, also featured in this exhibition. Catlett’s title, Survivor, draws attention to the woman in the portrait as a source of inspiration, an individual who survived slavery, racism, and extreme hardship.
Dock Stevedore at Fulton Fish Market, 1943
Museum Purchase, 2004.0007
Gordon Parks became prominent in U.S. documentary photojournalism with a focus on race relations, poverty, civil rights, and urban life. Parks was also a distinguished composer, author, and filmmaker. Born into poverty and segregation in Fort Scott, Kansas, Parks was drawn to photography as a young man when he saw images of migrant workers taken by Farm Security Administration (FSA) photographers in a magazine. Parks taught himself how to use a camera and secured a position with the photography section of the FSA in Washington DC, and later, the Office of War Information (OWI). Working for these agencies, which were then chronicling the nation’s social conditions, Parks quickly developed a distinctive style. In the spring of 1943, after photographing ﬁshing crews in Massachusetts, Parks went to New York City to record the Fulton Fish Market. Placing himself in the thick of the working pier, he captured the fast-paced transfer of ﬁsh from boats to market and the expressive faces of workers, often against the backdrop of an emerging city skyline. Parks’ work is in the permanent collections of major museums, among them the Art Institute of Chicago, the Baltimore Museum of Art, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Museum of Modern Art, and the Smithsonian Museum of American History.
Oil on composition board
Gift of the artist, 2005.0060
Henry Botkin was born in Boston, Massachusetts and moved to New York in 1917 to attend the Art Students League. He was employed as an illustrator for prominent magazines and then in the early 1920s devoted himself exclusively to painting. In addition to creating his own art, Botkin acted as an agent, purchasing works by outstanding artists for prominent collectors, including his cousin George Gershwin. Botkin joined Gershwin in Folly Island, South Carolina in 1934, where they worked simultaneously; Gershwin composed the opera Porgy and Bess and Botkin painted scenes from the life of the American Black in the South.
Botkin’s ambiguous composition leaves much to the viewer’s imagination. The subject of the painting, Sam, is positioned at a pool table’s corner aligning a shot next to the blue and red balls. His skill is evident in his focused gaze and handling of the cue stick. The cue ball is out of sight, possibly indicating an attempt to hit it off the opposite cushion and back down to the 2 ball, pushing it into the corner pocket.
Botkin took an active role in bringing abstract art into greater public awareness and served as president of four major art organizations including The Artist’s Equity Association, The American Abstract Artist’s Group 256 in Provincetown, and the Federation of Modern Painters and Sculptors.
To Marry, 1992
Color lithograph on wove paper
Acquired for the SU Art Museum by the Community Folk Art Center, 2009.0113.5
Elizabeth Catlett often combined abstraction and figurative elements. She was attracted to African and Mexican art traditions, but often tied her work with contemporary social messages and meanings. To Marry was part of a set of six lithographs created by Catlett in partnership with her close friend and poet, Margaret Walker. Catlett pulled inspiration from Walker’s 1942 poem, “For My People,” to create each image in the series, in this case the following stanza:
For my people standing staring trying to fashion a better way
from confusion, from hypocrisy and misunderstanding,
trying to fashion a world that will hold all the people,
all the faces, all the Adams and Eves and their countless generations.
Catlett and Walker use their distinctive art forms as mediums for change by calling on the ill-treatment and discrimination of Black people while simultaneously uplifting the Black community’s image and visualization.
Native American, b. 1944
Lil Warrior, 2009
Museum Purchase, 2011.0172
Leonard Peltier is an American Indigenous rights activist of Chippewa, Lakota, and Dakota descent. In 1977, Peltier was convicted of killing two FBI agents during a shootout on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation and sentenced to two consecutive life imprisonment terms. His conviction has been a source of contention with many well-known figures and human rights leaders who have pushed for clemency. While in prison, Peltier turned to painting to stay in touch with his culture, tradition, and spirit. This painting, Lil Warrior, depicts a young boy wearing a shirt that says, “Outrage Outlaw.” Behind the figure, standing out from the solid orange background is a sign that reads, “The imprisonment of Leonard Peltier is the imprisonment of all American Indians.” This is a clear statement that the unjust and politically motivated prosecution of his trial looms over young activists and Native Americans who are fighting to have their voices heard.
Hair Plaiting, 1984
Watercolor on wove paper
Gift of the Maryknoll Sisters, 2012.0052
Considered a master painter from the Mtwara School, Henry Likonde studied at the Nyumba ya Sanaa (House of Art) in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. He is known throughout southern Tanzania, where his work is seen in public spaces in Mahurunga and Ruvuma. Likonde creates work that challenges popular narratives. During the Ujamaa period of political reconstruction in Tanzania, he painted works criticizing failed policies that left working-class people unsupported. But Likonde also created works that depict the intimacy and rhythm of everyday life in Tanzania, as seen here. A mother and daughter (or two sisters) are in a familial setting with the figure on the left carefully dividing the lower figure’s hair with a comb into neat and precise sections.
American, b. 1934
[Sign language], 2016
Woodcut on brown mulberry paper
Gift of Lake Effect Editions, 2016.0251
Peter Gourfain is a sculptor, ceramist, painter, printmaker, and art teacher who works in Brooklyn, New York. Born in Chicago, he received his B.F.A. at the Art Institute of Chicago in 1956. Gourfain’s work is figurative and expressionist, but also personal, political and socially engaged. In this print, faces are boldly stylized—almost Romanesque—using the thick black and white aesthetic that’s natural in block-cut prints. Gourfain is equally known for his sculptures. He has received commissions from Greenwich House Pottery and has created bronze reliefs for the Cathedral of St. John the Divine, a bronze stele honoring the textile workers for the National Park Service in Lowell, MA, and a series of ceramic reliefs to commemorate the lives of the four students killed by the Ohio National Guard troops in an anti-Vietnam protest at Kent State University in 1970. Gourfain has taught at numerous institutions and currently teaches ceramics at Greenwich House Pottery. His work is held in the Guggenheim, Museum of Modern Art, Brooklyn Museum, Smithsonian American Art Museum, and other museums and institutions.
Jo Anne Schneider
Seated Woman in Profile, 1966
Gift of the Jo Anne Schneider Estate, 2018.0159
Born in Ohio, Jo Anne Schneider received her BFA at Syracuse University in 1941. She is noted for her still-life paintings, but her figurative work has received recognition for its fused colors and subtle messages. Schneider had over 22 solo exhibitions and group shows and exhibited regularly at the Provincetown Art Association with artists such as Chaim Gross, Herman Maril, Edwin Dickinson, Henry Botkin, George Biddle, Claire Leighton, and other notable artists. Schneider was the recipient of the Audubon Stanley Brumbacher Memorial award in 1972. Her works are included in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and have been exhibited at the Dayton Art Institute, The Jewish Museum, NYC, Dallas Museum of Fine Art and other major institutions.
Ex-Slave with Long Memory, Alabama, c. 1937
Gift of Robert Menschel, ’51, H’91, 2018.0269
Dorothea Nutzhorn, the daughter of second-generation German immigrants, adopted her mother’s maiden name, Lange, when she opened a portrait studio in San Francisco in 1918. In 1932, during the Great Depression, Lange shifted her focus from studio portraits to scenes showing the impact of the recession and the social unrest in the streets of San Francisco. This two-year period marked a turning point in her life. Paul Schuster Taylor, professor of economics at the University of California and a specialist in agricultural conflicts, who later became her second husband, began using her photographs to illustrate his articles in 1934. They worked together for over thirty years. Lange was hired by the Farm Security Administration 1935–41, when she created some of the most iconic images of the Great Depression.
American, b. Panama, 1951–2016
Trying to Remember Your Face, 1996
Etching on wove paper
Gift of the Estate of Louisa Chase, 2019.0045
Louisa Chase, the daughter of a U.S. Army officer, was raised in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. A graduate of Syracuse University (B.F.A.) and Yale University (M.F.A), Chase explored a variety of media, from experimental drawing to inflatable sculpture. She flourished in New York City early in her career and was one of few female artists to gain renown during the resurgence of painting in the 1980s, a movement generally associated with the artists of New Image painting and Neo Expressionism. Though Chase was a prolific painter, she routinely returned to printmaking throughout her career, publishing well over 60 editioned prints and countless variations, proofs, and monoprints. She credits her influences with the range of medieval Italian Sienna painters to Jackson Pollack, but there is not one distinctive style in her work. She is known for her tangles of marks and lines and frenetic scribbles, turning to the real and the abstract, challenging viewers to decipher personal sight, sensation and the human experience. Chase’s work is represented in the Whitney Museum of Art, the Museum of Modern Art, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the National Gallery of Art, the Baltimore Museum of Art, and many major institutions.
American, b. 1995
Reflection, March 15, 2020
Inkjet archival pigment
Museum Purchase, Robert B. Menschel ’51, H’91 Photography Fund
Bronx native Kreshonna Keane is a self-taught photographer who uses her work to portray juxtapositions between her subjects and the environment—meanwhile, addressing social stigmas, highlighting culture and celebrating life. Her clients include “Paper Planes,” “Cosmopolitan,” Indira Skin Care, “Aperture,” AT&T, Converse, among others.
Guyanese-American, b. 1990
Fall of Man, 2012
Digital collage inkjet print
17 x 22 inches
Museum Purchase, 2020.0028
Ivan Forde is an interdisciplinary artist who implements photo-based and print-making processes in his art to retell stories from epic poems. Forde casts himself as all the characters and explains: “I create richly layered images that are informed by epic poetry to reflect on migration, homeland, and memory … and … stories that contemplate speculative source of human origin and culture … I study and re-imagine Paradise Lost through lens-based self-portraits to speculate an alternative narrative that centers the reader as protagonist. Transformation 2012 is a series of eight monochrome prints [and includes the work shown here] that visualize the mental process unique to the reader of Miltons’s epic poem. I use multiple exposure and digital collage to merge, rearrange, and deconstruct my facial features, conjuring central narrative moments such as Milton’s account of Satan’s interstellar journey to Eden, the fall of man, and the turbulent process of the reader’s mind.”