Apr 19th 2019

Jeff Stevenson: F I T

@ B & L Gallery

1029 W 35th St, Chicago, IL 60609

Opening Friday, April 19th, from 7PM - 9PM

new work by Jeff Stevenson

B & L Gallery
Zhou B Art Center
lower level suite 008

Friday, April 19, 2019
7 – 9 p.m.

This new body of work consists of portraits painted in oil paint on 10×10 inch, wood panels which are then cut, the pieces exchanged and recombined. The geometric eight pointed star is either maintained or interrupted in each resulting combined composition.

The source material is “found selfies” that I collected while I was using online dating sites. These are guys I will most likely never meet.

I find that making paintings from found selfies is particularly contemporary, taking disposable images and ensconcing them in the tradition of oil portrait painting, building a bridge between our current era of ephemeral digital proliferation and our rich Art History. Just like oil portraits of kings and conquerors from the past, the selfie seeks to craft the perceptions of an audience. By using them as source material for my paintings, I seek to interrupt, dissect, and observe this cultural practice and tradition of making portraits.

As a figurative realist painter with a particular interest in portraits, I’m thinking about faces as symbols beyond the depiction of an individual. I’m working from my own personal experience and point of view with the hope of finding universal themes and common, shared, human experiences.

Our online profiles are about the curated, public self, (versus the authentic, or at least private, self), and these paintings speak to the anxiety that results from building the self-as-curated-persona. By projecting a ‘self’ that matches how we want to be seen in public, yet doesn’t betray our authentic, private self, we can get caught up in competitive comparisons to others, feelings of inadequacies, fear of missing out / you-only-live-once mentality, and imposter syndrome. The rise of social media has in some ways led to a crisis of identity. But like other tools and resources, we can choose how to use it.

Let’s talk about this more at the reception!
Friday, April 19, 2019
7 – 9 p.m.
This is part of the lively 3rd Fridays event:

Zhou B Art Center opens exhibitions every 3rd Friday of the month with an evening reception from 7pm-10pm. These events are free of charge and provide the community of Bridgeport and the Chicago area a unique opportunity to explore a blend of international and local art. The artists-in-residence at the Art Center open their studios to visitors, making this a unique opportunity for the community to meet working artists and discuss their work in person.

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