"Icon/Effigy" Exhibition

Pace Primitive

poster for "Icon/Effigy" Exhibition

This event has ended.

Pace Primitive announces Icon/Effigy, an exhibition which draws from the traditions of tribal sculpture and the work of important contemporary artists to explore the symbolic role of portraiture.

In traditional African and Oceanic art, effigies of ancestors and leaders are the fulcrum of social ritual. These representations symbolically guard and instruct the society and perpetuate tradition and history. More than just portraits of a person, they are abstracted icons that embody the spiritual values that are passed on to successive generations.

Icon/Effigy will feature several monumental figures that once stood at the very center of their communities' lives. An Ancestral Spirit Board, gope from the Papuan Gulf is an emblem which represents the clan's history and continuity. Said to be carved from the hulls of old war canoes, gopes have unique patterns that link them to the families that owned them. As marriages and migrations changed the members of a community, so would the patterns mingle and mutate to create new forms. This example presents a refined abstraction of the human figure, with special prominence accorded to the face and the male genitalia, which denotes the perpetuation of the clan.

In Western art, portraiture plays a defining role in the relationship between the artist and society. In making a portrait, the artist elevates the image of an individual to a public statement of status or emotion, or an icon of the artist's style. The contemporary element of Icon/Effigy will be focused on the work of artists who have made the practice of portraiture and self-portraiture fundamental to their innovations.

Two of the painters featured, Chuck Close and Alex Katz, have used portraiture of their families and friends throughout their careers as the starting point to develop their highly individual visual styles. Both work on an expanded scale, so that while the portrait remains precisely faithful and recognizable at a distance, at close range it opens up to an entirely new world of abstraction. Close in particular has developed, in works such as Lucas/Woodcut, a duality of the photographic and the painterly that offers two fundamentally different perspectives on his subject.

Icon/Effigy will also present the work of two artists who pioneered and redefined the photographic portrait. Richard Avedon and Irving Penn were instrumental in elevating photography to a fine art and introducing a new degree of humanity into a medium associated with mechanical reproduction.

Francesco Clemente, Lucas Samaras, Hiroshi Sugimoto and Zhang Huan represent successive generations of artists who have transcended the portrait as likeness and have integrated the image of the individual into greater artistic and social statements.



from November 04, 2010 to December 23, 2010

Opening Reception on 2010-11-04 from 18:00 to 20:00

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