A Group Show of 21 Female Artists Addressing Self-Portraiture
Curated by Indira Cesarine and Coco Dolle
September 27th | 6pm – 9pm
45 Lispenard Street Unit 1W
NYC 10013
September 28 – October 8 | 10am – 6pm
(Gallery Closed Sundays)

Left: Sarah Maple “Fried Eggs”, Middle: Erin M. Riley “Self Portrait 3”, Right: Polly Penrose “January 2015, Curved Wall”

The Untitled Space is pleased to present SELF REFLECTION, an exhibition of 21 female artists addressing self-portraiture. Curated by Indira Cesarine and Coco Dolle, the exhibit will be on view from September 27 – October 8, 2016, and includes works of photography, painting, tapestry, collage, mixed media and video. Using their own bodies as vehicles, the artists featured in SELF REFLECTION contemplate, as both creator and subject, contemporary issues of gender, identity, sexuality, body image, censorship, and self-liberation. Through their own process, be it autobiographical, metaphorical or inspired by performance and impersonation, these artists present visual narratives that interrogate social, cultural and political dialogues. Self-portrayal becomes a means to address the personal as political via self-reflection and reinvention, tackling conventional notions of female image and taboo.
Exhibiting artists include: Ahn Sun Mi, Alexa Meade, Andrea Mary Marshall, ANGE, Coco Dolle , Carol-Anne McFarlane, Cornelia Hediger, Grace Graupe-Pillard, Erin M. Riley, Hiba Schahbaz, Indira Cesarine, Karen Bystedt, KESH, Leah Schrager, Marie Tomanova, Meredith Ostrom, Natalie White, Polly Penrose, Rebecca Dayan, Sarah Maple, and Sophia Wallace.
The self-portrait has been a staple of art history for centuries, defining our social and political climate and a reflection on contemporary culture. In the past few decades the self-portrait has evolved into a much larger dialogue, largely due to the cultural shift to electronic communication and popularity of social media. In an age where the selfie has become a prominent means of self expression, SELF REFLECTION presents contemporary female artists that are not merely using their mobile devices to self promote, but work with self-portraiture as a means to present their own inner dialogue, confronting the human condition through varied artistic mediums. Through diverse methods such as tea painting, watercolors, collage, medium format and Polaroid photography as well as wool tapestry weaving, these artists take the self-portrait beyond its classic definition. They present themselves in their own terms, using their imagination to expand upon dual roles of creator and subject, artist and performer. They interrogate stereotypes of woman as mother, wife, lover or sexual object in works that are at once compelling narratives. Their image becomes their canvas, a tool for self-examination and cultural contemplation.

Left: Ahn Sun Mi “Auto Portrait 3”, Middle: ANGE “FINGERSPITZENGEFÜHL”, Right: Leah Schrager “Coco”

“Historically women have used self-portraiture as a means to address their own identity in relationship to contemporary society and social constructs. The artists featured in SELF REFLECTION, using their own body as catalyst, metaphorically regurgitate the stereotypes enforced upon women and address not only their own personal conflicts, but psychological and political conflicts of women at large, using their own likeness as a tool for enlightenment. In light of the modern day obsession with the selfie, it is important to turn an eye on the work of contemporary female artists who address self-portaiture, not with self promotion in mind, but to interrogate contemporary society and the social and political values we grapple with.” -Curator/Artist Indira Cesarine

“Self-portraiture has been a staple of art and photography in history. With today’s dissemination of the modern-day selfie, SELF REFLECTION ponders the legitimate essence of the female artist study as its own subject and muse awash in a pixelated sea of instantaneous gratification often misconstrued as self-advertisement. SELF REFLECTION delivers an intriguing vehicle for societal analysis and self-identification, addressing issues of censorship and acceptance, while drawing the viewer in an intrinsic desire to re-contextualize their relationship to the female form.” –Curator/Artist Coco Dolle

“I have worked with my own likeness since the early nude paintings from the 1970’s through large naked images of myself done more than 30 years later. I like to explore my body as it changes with time. The recent ongoing series of composite photos titled GRACE DELVING INTO ART shows me interacting/reacting with well-known artworks in galleries and museums all over the world. I am naked, climbing, riding, lying down besides or weaving myself in specific artworks from the history of art. The interactions with the artworks are usually humorous, sometimes poignant and often deal with issues such as sexism, ageism museum policy and the way we react to art, the nude, performance and even what is art? By my presence the context and meaning of the original artworks are transformed into a feminist statement.” –Artist Grace Graupe Pillard

“I started doing self portrait oil paintings as a teenager. When I was at art college I began to think more about my background of being mixed race with Islamic upbringing. I began to incorporate this into my work by creating humorous images about the difficulties of growing up with a mixed cultural background. I found performing in my photography the perfect outlet to get my ideas across. In much of my work the self portrait is very important because the work is about the world but my experience of that I think makes it more relatable and the impact is greater. I am also not afraid to laugh at myself. I think today there are many women using self portraiture because we are tired of being told by the media, society and religion etc, who we should be or what we should look like. I think by photographing ourselves we are reclaiming our image and finally controlling how we want to be seen in the world.” -Artist Sarah Maple

“These Self Portraits are my body’s response to a space and its contents. They are never pre-meditated, often I’ve never seen the location before, and I never enter a space with an idea of a finished picture. The final image is entirely dictated by the location and how my body can fit within it. It’s often a fight to ‘fit in’, to become a part of that space. The process of taking the pictures is punishing. It leaves me bruised and aching. Every picture is taken on self-timer, which makes for a repetitious, highly physical process of running between the camera and the pose, making adjustments as I go. It feels like I’m hammering my body into the landscape of the room, one picture at a time. Although the pictures are an immediate unrehearsed response to a space, with little emotional consideration at the time of shooting, as a body of work, they have become deeply emotive for me. As well as showing the physical journey of my body over time, they also reveal an emotional one. Each picture candidly portrays a moment, like marks in the calendar of my life.” –Artist Polly Penrose

I have always worked from my image, since learning to oil paint in high school to exploring my body with webcams and digital cameras to send to lovers. My work was conceptually about how human beings connect through the internet, sharing images back and forth, creating sexual energy and excitement, reminding others simply that we exist. I was using other women’s images and finally started to use my own when my intentions were questioned. I had considered my work a reflection of myself at all times, self portraits by proxy but it was only until I used images of myself that the connection to online intimacy came truly out.” -Artist Erin M. Riley

“In my work, I am both the artist and the performer. I photograph my body and use these images as references for my paintings. Through the stories I create I contemplate what it means to be a woman. These works addresses issues of personal freedom, destruction, sexuality and censorship by unveiling the beauty, fragility and strength of the female form. I tell my own story while heavily embellishing it with imagination and metaphor. And although the protagonist in the work is me, she also carries a dual, existential meaning.” –Artist Hiba Schahbaz

“SELF REFLECTION, SELF EXPRESSION, SELF EXPLORATION, SELF SUFFICIENCY, SELF CONSTRUCTION, SELF SERVICE, SELF HEALING These are the underlying currants throughout my work, wether it be in my writings, poetry, photography, sculpture or my contribution in the fashion collective threeASFOUR. My driving forces are my spirit, heart and soul , reflecting on observations and experiences of being a human woman in this society of now. My external shell of face and body is my instrument/tool and assistant in conveying a certain message, telling a story. Be it drama or comedy alike, exploring existential philosophical or simply very personal ideas and thoughts on the human condition and working from deep down my own emotional pipeline.” –Artist ANGE