Friday, August 27, 2010

National Self-Portrait Show at 33 Collective Gallery

Adam Bock

6th Annual National Self-Portrait Exhibition, through August 16, 33 Collective Gallery

Self absorption has got to be a prerequisite for becoming an artist in our day and age, so why not kick-start some careers by posting an invitation on the internet and to art schools around the country, for an exhibit of self portraits. Sergio Gomez of 33 Collective Gallery has been doing this for six years now. All of the submissions are posted on his website, and every year a curator is chosen to select about 50 pieces for display in his gallery, tucked away in back of the Zhao B. Art Center in Bridgeport. The results are wacky, fun, challenging, dreadful, and sometimes surprising. The guest curator for this year’s show was Tami Miller, from the Krasl Art Center in St Joseph, Michigan. As she notes, she was looking for “a diversity of visual languages, mediums, and forms”. But the classical realists, as well as the followers of any non-modern tradition are noticeably absent. And nowhere can be found the image of an artist who has presented him/her self as relaxed, erudite, or sophisticated. Today’s emerging artists are more likely to depict themselves as desperate, determined, dangerous, angry, goofy, or bored – and definitely with attitude. Of special note is the work of recent Northwestern graduate, Jason John, who was selected for a gallery award, and who has that old-fashioned ability to make a convincing representation with brushes instead of pixels. Every year a few paintings get sold and the artists pay a submission fee, so the gallery does receive some compensation for the effort. But this should probably considered ongoing research rather than a commercial project. How do the brave, bright young people who want to be artists today see themselves? And will the character of the self images change over the many years that Sergio will continue to run this project? It’s all on the internet , so take a look for yourself.


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. I'm the artist whose picture serves as the title image. You are correct in your statement of the contemporary artist being self involved. I found this blog by googling myself. Well played.