PRINTHOUSTON 2024: PRINTED FACES - Exhibitions (2024)

EMMA AMOS, MARCEL DZAMA, DOROTHY HOOD, ADMIRE KAMUDZENGERERE, ALEX KATZ, ROY LICHTENSTEIN, ALICE NEEL, DANIELLE ORCHARD, ELIZABETH PEYTON, ANDY WARHOL

Open House: Saturday, June 15, 2024, 2-4PM

June 15 – July 27, 2024

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McClain Gallery is pleased to present PRINTED FACES, a group exhibition held in partnership with PrintHouston Biennial 2024. The exhibition celebrates the diverse art of printmaking, showcasing the works of artists Emma Amos, Marcel Dzama, Dorothy Hood, Admire Kamudzengerere, Alex Katz, Roy Lichtenstein, Alice Neel, Danielle Orchard, Elizabeth Peyton, and Andy Warhol.

PRINTED FACES brings together these artists for the first time, highlighting their unique approaches to the figure and portrait-making. Each vignette is created using a discrete visual language, connecting experiences and symbols through the depiction of faces. Each maker uses distinct printmaking techniques to investigate the relationship between the parallels of visual story-telling and truth.

Emma Amos (b. 1937, Atlanta, Georgia; d. 2020, Bedford, New Hampshire) was a prominent African-American artist known for her vibrant use of color and her exploration of race, gender, and the Western art canon. As her work became increasingly figurative, Amos began inserting her own image into her work, positioning herself as a central protagonist. This approach allowed her to challenge well-known artists she both admired and critiqued, such as Picasso and Gauguin. The monoprint Black and White depicts the nude body of British painter Lucian Freud with Amos’s own head transposed onto it. By flattening the spaces her and Freud’s figures embody, she swaps their identities. The mechanism is twofold. Amos exposes whiteness and maleness as prerequisites to be taken seriously in the canon, but also rips this paradigm down: the white, male body is here a ridiculous and powerless suit.

Marcel Dzama (b. 1974, Winnipeg, Canada) is a Canadian contemporary artist known for his whimsical and surreal drawings, paintings, and dioramas. His work often features imaginative creatures, masked figures, and dreamlike scenarios, blending elements of folklore, fairy tales, and modern pop culture. In The flowers of indulgence, a lithograph from 2021, a masked woman sits in the foreground, holding a red dahlia, surrounded by flora and fauna including a cat playing a fiddle. The scene is cryptic and tense; while a clear narrative is difficult to decipher, it’s easy to make one up as the image is open and playful. Dzama's distinctive style has earned him international acclaim and exhibitions at numerous prestigious institutions. Dzama's work invites viewers into a unique, imaginative world that challenges the boundaries between the real and the subconscious.

Dorothy Hood (b. 1918, Bryan, Texas; d. 2000, Houston, Texas) Hood’s works on paper often materialize as a visual manifestation of her subconscious. Considered a surrealist, Hood’s figurative work exemplifies this practice with strangely lithe bodies, an unusual and ruptured depiction of space, and a penchant for mark-making that follows chance and randomness as a driver. In her intaglio print from the 1960s, Untitled, Hood weaves a mysterious narrative with psychological intensity. The figure’s face disappears into the natural world around it, with a pair of hands reaching toward where its nose should be; the wide iris-less eyes appear pleading, resulting in a haunting emotionality.

Admire Kamudzengerere (b. 1981, Harare, Zimbabwe) is a multifaceted artist renowned for addressing complex socio-cultural issues, exploring themes of identity, politics, and society. Kamudzengerere’s monotypes began as a coping mechanism after his father’s death in 2012. Initially created through intense self-reflection and the search for familial likeness, these works evolved into a unique blend of traditional and experimental printmaking techniques. Untitled moves fluidly between chaos and control, and back again. In contrast to the other works in the show, Kamudzengerere creates an approximation of a likeness without specific features. The result is no less striking.

Alex Katz (b. 1927, New York, New York) is an American figurative artist best known for his paintings, sculptures, and prints, focusing primarily on portraits. The prints White Shirt, Perry and White Shirt, Vincent 1, both depict the image of a young man in a white shirt. Katz is well known for his series of paintings and prints featuring women in black dresses, with the men in white shirts serving as a counterpart that highlights the significance of the little black dress in the fashion industry.

Roy Lichtenstein (b. 1923, New York, New York; d. 1997, New York, New York). Inspired by comic strips, Lichtenstein created the meticulous composition in his 1984 multimedia print titled Two Paintings almost exclusively in primary colors, outlined in solid black, with space represented by color planes, stripes, and Ben-Day dots. Two Paintings explores the relationship between representation and abstraction, a concept that extends across most of Lichtenstein’s work. The print invites viewers to consider the act of portraiture as a complex experience.

Alice Neel (b. 1900, Gladwyne, Pennsylvania; d. 1984, New York, New York) known for her paintings of friends, family, lovers, poets, artists, activists, and strangers, is regarded as one of the most influential American portraitists of the twentieth century. Her lithograph The Family from 1982 exemplifies her skill in portraying not just physical likeness but also the inner world of her sitters. Unlike the show’s focus on individual portraits, this piece explores the complex dynamics within a family.

Danielle Orchard (b. 1985, Michigan City, Indiana)’s works pays homage to the great modern-era painters like Picasso and Matisse. The work Utility features an abstracted female nude against a pitch-black background squeezing a phone between her shoulder and ear and holding a bright flashlight close to her face. The figure’s half-lidded eyes glance lazily to the right of the composition, calling attention in several ways to things off-paper: what is her gaze catching, and who has she called? As in many of her portraits, Orchard employs muted emotions and body language to allow viewers to connect with and reflect on the subjects in her work. Unlike in many of her forebears’ works, though, the female figure is active, complex; a heroine rather than a muse.

Elizabeth Peyton (b. 1965, Danbury, Connecticut) In Peyton’s Tony (Kiss), the monochrome lithograph captures the tender physicality of artist Tony Just in a Kiss t-shirt as he quietly fumbles with his necklace. The portrait conveys Just’s youth and beauty through sweeping brushstrokes and a soft facial expression. Peyton, known for her intimate mark making, renders portraits of people close to her with the same vibrancy as she depicts celebrities. The artist is considered a master of contemporary American realism, and her work has been shown internationally in a score of important institutions.

Andy Warhol’s Sunday B. Morning 11.23: Marilyn Monroe, is a series published by the once authorized distributor Sunday B. Morning. The project began after Warhol collaborated with Belgian friends to create editions of his renowned artworks, including Marilyn, Flowers, and Campbell's Soup Cans. Iconic in its depiction of Marilyn Monroe, the series conflicts the actress’ image with the symbol she came to represent. Warhol’s notorious style, groundbreaking in its conception and many times over modeled after, flattens the likeness, distilling her into color. As Warhol intended, the piece is slick, bright, punchy: an advert for a widely reproduced emblem of beauty.

Collectively, the exhibition touches on a breadth of art movements through medium, imagery, and time period, capturing themes of political struggle, personal histories, and reality.

LINK TO EXHIBITION VIEWING ROOM

PRINTHOUSTON 2024: PRINTED FACES - Exhibitions (2024)
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