“At a time when countless ‘selfies’ are being posted on social media channels and identity is proving to be more and more fluid, the Portrait Gallery presents a sampling of how artists have approached the exploration of representation and self-depiction through portraiture. With each self-portrait, artists either reaffirm or rebel against a sense of identity that links the eye to ‘I.’ Drawing primarily from the National Portrait Gallery’s vast collection, ‘Eye to I’ examines how artists in the United States have chosen to portray themselves since the beginning of the last century.
‘Eye to I’ features more than 75 artworks in a variety of styles and media ranging from tiny caricatures to wall-sized photographs, from colorful pastels and watercolors to dramatic paintings and time-based media. The exhibition traces the process through which select artistic practices have transitioned from gazing into the mirror to looking into the camera; from painted, sculpted or drawn surfaces to mechanical reproductions such as prints and photographs; from static forms to video and other digitized modes. Artworks to be included in the exhibition span the art historical timeline from 1901 to today. Early works will include a turn of the century self-portrait by American realist painter Everett Shinn from 1901 and a 1903 charcoal drawing by Edward Hopper. Also on view will be recently made work including a Vimeo video entitled “Who’s Sorry Now” (2017) by Brooklyn-based artist Amalia Soto starring her internet persona Molly Soda; and a 2018 “Internet Cache Portrait” by Berlin-based artist Evan Roth.” — National Portrait Gallery
“Individuals featured in ‘Eye to I’ have approached self-portraiture at various points in history, under unique circumstances, and using different tools, but their representations—especially when seen together—all raise important questions about self-perception and self-reflection,” says Brandon Brame Fortune, chief curator, Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery. “Some artists reveal intimate details of their inner lives through self-portraiture, while others use the genre to obfuscate their private selves or invent alter egos.”
“Eye to I: Self-Portraits from 1900 to Today” was organized by the Portrait Gallery’s Chief Curator Brandon Brame Fortune.
Images courtesy National Portrait Gallery.