Editor’s note: This article was initially published in The Daily Gazette, Swarthmore’s online, daily newspaper founded in Fall 1996. As of Fall 2018, the DG has merged with The Phoenix. See the about page to read more about the DG.
On Thursday, November 17, 2005, the Kitao Gallery opened its latest exhibition of student artwork, “Portrait Show.” The exhibit, which features various student interpretations of the definition of portraiture through a wide range of media and techniques, will be open on Friday from 2:30-4:00, Saturday and Sunday from 3:30-5:00, Monday 2:30-4:00, and Tuesday 4:00-5:30.
According to Merriam-Webster, a portrait is “a pictorial representation (as a painting) of a person usually showing the face.” The Kitao’s “Portrait Show” takes this idea and runs with it, showing both traditional portraiture and more innovative variations, showcasing the technical skill and vision of the artists.
Laura Holzman ’06, one of the Kitao Gallery’s directors said of the work displayed, “With this show we were interested in seeing how different people approached the concept of portrait… It’s exciting that everyone is sort of pushing the traditional definition of portrait. It’s great for people to be experimenting.”
Holzman’s work, a photographic quilt collage, “Untitled Self Portrait,” is among those featured, adding an engrossing splash of color to the exhibit which contains many remarkable grayscale and black and white pieces notable for their compelling use of shading and line. In addition to variations on photographic and two dimensional portraiture, Becket Flannery’s ’07 “Moving Day for Oedipus” is a distinctive three-dimensional piece.
The variety of pieces displayed is a testament to student creativity and talent, and perusing the works offers an intriguing glimpse into range of possibilities in defining portraits. As suggested by one of Alana Salguero’s ’08 portraits laden with intensely realistic eyes, the question of recognizing and perceiving portraiture is clearly a matter of individual vision.