The exhibition features the work of 27 contemporary artists, all realist painters—or, perhaps more precisely, painters who are working on the margins of
—abstracting familiar imagery in some way, often to extraordinary or even bizarre results. Take
, a German-American artist whose dark oils look to be based on antique photographs of human faces. In the case of Untitled I
(2015), the composition brings to mind that most banal sort of photograph: one used for a photo ID, as on a passport. But the image is distorted, drawn over, as if he’s taken scissors and paint to an actual photograph. In Free Will
(2015), the details of one face are entirely removed, as if rubbed off with an eraser. The effect is disorienting and ominous, even haunting, triggering questions about identity and records of the past.