On loan from the Arkansas Arts Center in Little Rock, the state’s premier institution for visual and performing arts, Face to Face showcases 70 revelatory drawings by modern and contemporary artists that illustrate the probing activity of self-portraiture. In this exhibition, traditional and innovative works on paper are paired with one another to compare and contrast these diverse artists’ wide range of stylistic, procedural, and material handlings, emotive or psychological bearing, and the varying conceptions of the “self.”
In his foreword to the catalogue accompanying the exhibition, Todd Herman, executive director of the Arkansas Arts Center, notes:
Portraiture, self-portraits, and the human figure are some of the oldest subjects in art and yet artists continue to find new ways to show us what is so familiar… Within these pairings we find themes that we all know well: confidence, doubt, pain, joy, and the surreal… Which artist shares our sense of self? Art forces us to ask questions—it’s how we answer those questions that tells us a lot about ourselves and our society.
Part of an ongoing, larger gift to the Arkansas Art Center, these intriguing drawings were assembled by long-time collectors and Arkansas Arts Center patrons Jackye and Curtis Finch, Jr., who are crafting one of America’s great collections of graphic self-portraiture. The exhibition, organized and circulated by the Arkansas Arts Center with guest curator Brad Cushman, features works by Robert Arneson, Milton Avery, Paul Cadmus, Diane Edison, Nancy Grossman, Alex Katz, and George Tooker, among many others.