06.16.2018 — 08.18.2018
Alfred Conteh, Basil Kincaid, Devan Shimoyama, Inka Essenhigh, Jeffrey Gibson, Shara Hughes & Titus Kaphar.
Kavi Gupta is pleased to present Parallel Lives. This group exhibition aims to bring together a diverse selection of contemporary artists working in figuration and portraiture. Each artist approaches the motif through unique technical applications and each has their own personal conceptual goals, however, the exhibition seeks to unite how the human subject in art serves as a channel between artist and audience, or audience to audience.
The exhibition is primarily interested in subjective takes on the figure, engaging Symbolist, Expressionist, Surrealist, and newly developing traditions which are less beholden to “Realism” and instead keep the figure fluid for numerous other purposes.
It is the experience between artist, subject, and audience that has kept figuration and portraiture relevant throughout the entire history of art, and imbues the genre with transcendant power for political protest, philosophical conjecture, education, and emotional appeal, among other outcomes. The fictive spaces crafted by artists can inspire sympathetic experience between audience and subject, a rhetorical path toward understanding. Our ability to recognize, relate to, and “believe” legible illusory spaces and their human occupants remains a fundamental art experience.
The title—Parallel Lives—is taken from the title of a collection of biographies by Plutarch, the legendary Greek biographer and essayist. Predating the existence of the biography as a genre, Plutarch literally called his writings “Lives” rather than “Histories” or biographies of individuals. The show draws inspiration from a passage from Plutarch’s Life of Alexander, so beginning: “I write not histories but lives: the showiest deeds do not always delineate virtue and vice, but often a trivial action, a quip or a prank, will reveal more of character than the fiercest slaughters, or greatest parades, or sieges of cities. Thus, just as portrait painters attempt to establish a likeness through the features or a look in the eyes (where character is revealed), taking far fewer pains with the rest, I must be allowed to devote myself mainly to the signs of the psyche.”