Art & Art History
400 South Peoria Street, Chicago, IL 60607
Mary Ahrendt, Mimi Gross, Jodee Hartney, Michael Hurson, Michael Kenny, Vera Klement, Linda Lee, and Arnaldo Roche Rabell
Portraits, ranging from the Mona Lisa to Andy Warhol’s Marilyn Monroe, can serve many functions. They can illustrate artistic technique and virtuosity, comment on contemporary society, and, last but not least, represent and immortalize the appearance of specific individuals. With some of these functions in mind, curator Laurel Bradley organized Portraits: Lookalikes, an assemblage of works relating to portraiture in several media by eight artists. The exhibition helped forge links between the Director, a newcomer to Chicago, the new Gallery 400, and Chicago artists and dealers. Bradley’s selection of paintings, drawings, photographs, and reliefs explored formal, technical and personal issues through the personal confrontation inherent in the portrait.
Portraits: Lookalikes brings together a well-established Chicago painter (Vera Klement), an artist who spent long periods in Chicago but later moved to New York (Michael Hurson), a UIC alumnus then gaining considerable recognition (Mary Ahrendt), a New York artist who showed in Chicago (Mimi Gross), and four other young artists who offered provocative variations on the Portraits: Lookalikes theme (Jodee Hartney, Michael Kenny, Linda Lee, Arnaldo Roche Rabell).
The featured artists all use the portrait format. These paintings, drawings, photographs, and reliefs emphasize the figure and stress a direct encounter between artist and subject, viewer and art object. These works are not necessarily traditional portraits, which aim primarily at likeness. Rather, they adopt the portrait’s intense focus on a single human being as a means of exploring specific formal, technical, personal and humanistic issues.
Curator Laurel Bradley is the founding director of Gallery 400 at the University of Illinois at Chicago. New to Chicago, Bradley has used her experience to forge links with Gallery 400 and Chicago artists and dealers. She earned a BA in art history from the University of Oregon, and a PhD from New York University’s Institute of Fine Arts, for which she wrote a dissertation on Victorian art.