Laurence Miller Gallery is pleased to present GRACE, a group exhibition featuring 20 artists who embrace one of our most important conversations today - how people see themselves and others within the larger social fabric. Historically, many artists have addressed these issues, though more often as a comment on others rather than about themselves. The younger contemporary artists in the show venture further into the roles that they and other people play, whether by choice or by force, to maintain their place and their dignity in society.
The historical approach can be seen in featured works by Andy Warhol (Self-Portrait in Drag, 1981), Diane Arbus (Young Boy in Man’s Hat, 1956) and Cindy Sherman (Untitled, 1975).
Works by the more contemporary artists include:
• "It’s Hard to Kill," the recent series by Iranian-born Fatemeh Baigmoradi, in which she burned family photographs to understand what her parents felt when they had to destroy their own family archive, for fear of being jailed by the newly empowered Ayatollah and his Islamic state.
• Jess Dugan’s portraits of transgender and gender nonconforming older adults - stunning and sensitive works from her series and book entitled "To Survive on This Shore." The accompanying texts are vulnerable, honest, and revelatory.
• French artist Denis Darzacq’s "ACT" series - an extensive collaboration engaging young adults with disabilities. The participants included actors, athletes, and dancers, and the joy and freedom they express challenges many preconceptions projected on people we label “disabled.”
• Japanese photographer Kazuo Sumida who, upon the death of his father, picked up a camera and wandered into the night seeking solace, and found himself in a gay cabaret only to discover his uncle was a transgender performer there. By using infrared film, he was able to capture the poignancy of the denizens’ intimacy, rituals, sadness and joy, without disrupting the scene.
• Julie Mack’s witty and tender exploration of her relationship to her own family
• Amy Ritter, the youngest artist in the show, confronts how her identity was defined by growing up in a mobile home community.
Also featured will be Gay Block’s portraits of European Holocaust rescuers; Gary Brotmeyer’s humorous photo-based collages; Yasumasa Morimura’s self-portrayals; Neal Slavin’s images of groups in prayer; South African Zanele Muholi’s series "Faces and Phases," celebrating and commemorating black lesbians, to remedy traditional black queen invisibility; Bruce Wrighton’s sharply focused portraits of everyday people in Binghamton, NY; Melanie Walker’s role-playing self-portraits; Dennis Farber’s Polaroid montages, blending external and hidden desires; Adal’s allegorical protest against Puerto Rico being submerged in debt; and Robert Calafiore’s pinhole odalisques, referencing the male nude in classical art, with poses that display a vulnerability uncommon in cultural depictions of masculinity.
The gallery will host an opening reception on Thursday, January 3rd, from 6 to 8pm.