This exhibition for CICA Vancouver featured works by George Condo, Rashid Johnson, Derek Fordjour, Hernan Bas, Austin Lee, Javier Calleja, and more.
The third year into the pandemic, we have spent an inconceivable amount of time with ourselves, yet we are craving human interactions like never before. As are these artists, who continue to investigate the concept of individuals and collectives, and the ambiguous relationship between, through portraiture. Human figures in their paintings are not merely abstract representations of an individual or a group. They are encapsulated as the carrier of memories, emotions, experiences, and quarantine monologues. Unlike most portraits that depict a “sitter”—a real person—and aim to achieve a certain level of “likeness” in presentation, these modern works forego the sitter in order to allow for a greater magnitude of commonality and ambiguity. In place of us, these fictitious “sitters” seek answers to questions like identity, gender, chaos, uncertainty, desire, acculturation, and more. They play with our perceptions and illusions and make us constantly question the veracity of the subjects.