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[Photo Story] HUB Robeson Galleries Present ‘True Likeness’

This spring, the HUB-Robeson Galleries present “True Likeness,” a compilation of contemporary portraits from a diverse group of 19 artists. The pieces are made through various mediums and display portraits that act as expressions of identity.

The exhibit was curated by Lia Newman and Tom Stanley. “True Likeness” will be on display through March 20.

Antonius-Tín Bui expresses Vietnamese history and queerness in the pieces above through hand-cut paper pieces with acrylic paint. These pieces are meant to celebrate queer Asian American Pacific islanders.

Sam Doyle (1906-1985) worked in creating portraits to feature model persons in St. Helena Island, South Carolina. Doyle used recycled plywood and roofing metal as canvas and painted with enamel house paint. During Doyle’s lifetime, portraits such as the pieces above would have been hung on the outside of his home in what he called the “Nationwide Outdoor Art Gallery.”

Amir H. Fallah has created a series of collaged portraits, including the pieces above, by working atop turn-of-the-century photographs with glaze and oil paint. Creating someone and no one to draw attention to the negatives of defining people with generalizations.

This is a self-portrait of LaToya Ruby Frazier from 2009 and is part of her series The Notion of Family which also features her mother and grandmother. The series calls attention to the strength of family when facing systemic racism.

Juan R. Fuentes’s piece called “Primas & Primos de Chihuahua” showcases his cousins in response to lies spread by former president Trump about Mexican people.

Raymond Grubb used his camera to create self-portraits as well as portraits of his partner Tom Thoune. Grubb and Thoune have been together for 35 years and this series is an expression of creativity from the isolation of the pandemic.

Above, Holly Keogh created art by collecting stills from film videos of relatives from England that existed before she was born to reimagine them in the present day.

Deborah Luster creates art related to the topic of violent crime. Both of the above photos on display in “True Likeness” feature men serving life sentences at The Louisiana State Penitentiary, a maximum-security prison farm.

Gene Merritt (1936-2015) drew with a ballpoint pen and colored pencil to create hundreds of portraits of celebrities and historical figures.

John Monteith alters the faces from the most classic tradition of portraiture: yearbook photos. The alterations are hard to notice at first glance but become apparent upon further examination.

“Twenty-Two Drawn Famous Faces” by artist Chris Sullivan evolved from him learning to draw famous faces through a book by Lee J. Ames.

Wendy Red Star’s self-portrait feature’s her daughter and is reminiscent of traditional portraits of Crow women.

Bill Thelen used bright watercolors to bright joy to the chaos that was the pandemic while connecting it to the aids crisis in the above collection of paintings.

By Mickalene Thomas, “When Ends Meet” portraying Oprah Winfrey and Condoleezza Rice.

Mickalene Thomas creates pieces that feature Black women embellished with rhinestones.

John and Teenuh Foster have collected photos, like those featured in “True Likeness,” from anonymous photographers over the last 17 years.

Any work by artists not featured in this article can be found in the gallery itself or through the exhibition checklist.

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About the Author

Teagan Staudenmeier

Teagan is a junior majoring in photojournalism and one of Onward State's photographers. She is from Wilkes-Barre, PA, but is a Canadian at heart. On campus, she is involved in Photo Club, and is an Aurora outdoor orientation leader. For more fun content, follow her on Twitter: @Teag_42.

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