Racine Art Museum
Press Release

Investigating the Idea of a Portrait

The pieces in this exhibition encourage contemplation about how human beings understand one another as well as the world around them.

By - Jan 3rd, 2019 08:00 am
Bonnie Schiffman, Michael Jackson, 1983 Archival inkjet print, Artist’s proof 415 3/8 x 15 1/4 inches Racine Art Museum, Gift of the Artist

Bonnie Schiffman, Michael Jackson, 1983
Archival inkjet print, Artist’s proof 415 3/8 x 15 1/4 inches
Racine Art Museum, Gift of the Artist

Racine, WI  January 3, 2019. Open January 20 through September 1, 2019 at the Racine Art Museum (RAM), Represent: Exploring Portraits from RAM’s Collection features pieces that embrace the idea of a portrait as an investigation of character and situation, tangible details, and abstract elements.

In the most general and narrow terms, a portrait is understood as a two-dimensional representation that focuses on a sitter’s upper body. In an expanded context, a portrait could be an image, or object, that conveys information about a person or persons (or animal) beyond the physical—reflecting periods of time, personalities, personal circumstances, and social and cultural dynamics.

From self-portraits to works that encapsulate the essence of a subject through metaphor or emotion, the pieces in this exhibition encourage contemplation about how human beings understand one another as well as the world around them. At a time when selfies and casual “snaps,” are ever more present and popular, it is interesting to consider what it means to explore and understand the self and others through more considered two and three-dimensional representations.

While there are many possibilities for organization, Represent focuses on subject type, with works broken down into loose groups of traditional portraits, self-portraits, artists, famous people, metaphors or types, and fantasy. This broad approach includes photography, paintings, and prints along with stitched fiber reliefs and sculptures made of various materials. Works from the mid-twentieth-century are shown alongside pieces created in the last ten years.

The spectrum of artists whose works are represented features a variety from Works Projects Administration photographers of the 1930s––who operated much like photojournalists––to contemporary ceramic artists.

This exhibition is made possible by: Platinum Sponsors – Friends of Fiber Art International, Windgate Foundation; Diamond Sponsors – Tom and Irene Creecy, Osborne and Scekic Family Foundation; Gold Sponsors – David Flegel, Herzfeld Foundation, Johnson Bank, Racine Community Foundation, Diane and Richard Ruffo, W.T. Walker Group, Inc.; Silver Sponsors – Andis Foundation, Evinrude Outboard Motors, Lucy Feller, Racine County, Real Racine, Runzheimer International Ltd., Twin Disc, Bill and Mary Walker, Wisconsin Arts Board; Bronze Sponsors – Burlington Graphic Systems, Inc., John Cram and Matt Chambers, David and Ellen Easley, Educators Credit Union, Fredrick and Deborah Ganaway, William Guenther, Knight Barry Title, Inc., Dorothy MacVicar, The Norbell Foundation, Janna and Dr. Edward Waldeck, Walmart; Media Sponsor – 88Nine Radio Milwaukee

Together, the two campuses of the Racine Art Museum, RAM in downtown Racine at 441 Main Street and the Charles A. Wustum Museum of Fine Arts at 2519 Northwestern Avenue, seek to elevate the stature of contemporary crafts to that of fine art by exhibiting significant works in craft media with painting, sculpture, and photography, while providing outstanding educational art programming.

Docent-led contemporary craft and architectural tours of the museums are available. Both campuses of the Racine Art Museum, are open Tuesday – Saturday 10:00 am – 5:00 pm, and are closed Mondays, Federal holidays and Easter. RAM is open Sunday Noon – 5:00 pm, while Wustum is closed Sundays. An admission fee of $7 for adults, with reduced fees for students and seniors, applies at RAM. Admission to Wustum is free. Members are always admitted without charge to either campus.

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