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#selfportrait :
Self-portraiture in a time of selfies

Has the selfie changed how we see the
self-portrait, how an artist can work with their own image?

A group exhibition by 22 Hobart artists.

The selfie – The Oxford Dictionary’s word of the year in 2013 – is ubiquitous. Never before have so many images of ourselves been recorded and shared. We take photos with our phones to share, to brag, to justify, to say that we are here. Photos of us in new places, in new clothes, with groups of friends, dressed to go out, with our breakfasts. We share experiences and expect immediate responses, we illustrate our social media accounts with carefully chosen images, punctuate ongoing conversations with specific groups of people, and through our choices establish and embellish our identities. Having a camera on us at all times motivates us to see every experience as documentable (Jurgenson, 2019, p36) and in a way gives us a choice every moment as to what is worth recording – to consider what our audience would like to see. When this is an image of our self how do we choose that which is worth recording? And how does this choice affect both our experience and our sense of self?

In this new, pandemic shifted world, even those reluctant to employ social media have been forced to share their image. To display their home lives and their private selves with varying degrees of curation. How have these new ways of communicating, these renegotiations of boundaries, affected how we see ourselves and how we present our own image? We choose a background for a zoom conference and display curated loungerooms and bookshelves, we choose avatars for our online spaces and camera angles for filming, move children out of sight or shift cats from the keyboard, soften the focus of our camera, and adjust the lighting – viewing ourselves as we think others will view us. In this ever growing and shifting construction of our own self-image, where is the space for the self-portrait?

The self-portrait has a long history. Through the self-portrait an artist provides evidence of some aspect of the self (Gorichanaz, 2019) not evidence of where they have been or what they have worn (or eaten) but of who they are. It shows not only (and sometimes not at all) what the artist looks like, but what they believe about themselves and how they have chosen to curate their own self-image for an audience.

This exhibition draws together a varied group of Tasmanian artists working in Hobart to explore new possibilities of self-portraiture in a time of selfies. With practices ranging across painting, photography, print and sculpture and with a range of conceptual interests and experience, the artists explore questions of self-identity in mid-pandemic Hobart in 2021.

Who are we, what do we believe about ourselves, and how do we show ourselves to the world?

Gorichanaz, T. (2019), Self-Portrait, Selfie, Self: Notes on Identity and Documentation in the Digital Age, Information (Switzerland) (10):297
Jurgenson, N. (2019), The Social Photo: On Photography and Social Media. Verso: UK

Saturday 14 – Saturday 21 August 2021
10:00am – 4:00pm daily

Friday 13 August 2021 @ 5:00pm

[rev_slider self-portrait-2021]

Image Credits:
KEY IMAGE: Skye Mescall. Stutter. Acrylic and oil on board.  20cm x 20cm.
Additional Images:
Andrew Moneghittie. Neglected Self (2021). Gum Bichromate Montage. 60cm x 60cm.
George Kennedy. Selfie (2021). Framed drypoint monoprint. 120cm x 95cm.
Angela Turner. (2021). Oil on Canvas. 50cm x 40cm.

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