The National Portrait Gallery presents the ninth installation of “Portraiture Now,” a series of exhibitions that showcase some of the most creative twenty-first-century portrait artists.
“Portraiture Now: Staging the Self” features the work of six contemporary U.S. Latino artists—David Antonio Cruz, Carlee Fernandez, María Martínez-Cañas, Rachelle Mozman, Karen Miranda Rivadeneira, and Michael Vasquez—who present identities theatrically, in order to rid portraiture of its reassuring tradition that fixes a person in space and time.
These artists use their work to focus on personal or family issues, telling stories that they have remembered or imagined from their past, manipulating images of themselves or superimposing portraits of their loved ones on their own. Like actors searching for a character, they are looking both for their unique identity traits and for shared traits. In the process, portraiture loses its feeling of certainty and instead becomes a map for finding oneself and others.