The JKC Gallery’s summer exhibition will be a group show with 10 current and former students who have taken Visual Arts classes at MCCC.

The Figure A Portrait Makes will feature work by Ramie Ahmed, Timothy Dill, John Labaw, Elizabeth Mayer, Isaiah Mcrae, Julia Pfaar, Regina Ritter, Danielle Rackowski, Zac Santanello, and Grace Spencer. Each artist has been selected for their contemporary interpretation of the genre of portraiture.

The show will run from July 29th through August 23rd. There will be a reception that will be part of MCCC’s Summer Jazz Institute concert on Friday August 2nd from 3:00-6:00 p.m.

Summer Show Gallery Hours: Tu/We/Th 10:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. or by Appointment –

Historically, portraiture has been used to represent the power, status, and wealth of an individual or a group through reproduction of their idealized likeness. Photography imitated this process as best it could with lighting, costume, and scenery in its early history but soon photographers began to embrace the more vernacular descriptions that the photographic process could offer. Portraiture in photography branched out into environmental portraits, documentary/travel portraits, photojournalism, street photography, self-portraits, and of course, the snapshot. Portraiture in photography has been used to exoticize, colonialize, demonize, classify, document, heroicize, connect, heal, and memorialize. It has been a tool for our worst and best impulses.

The show’s title is based on an essay Robert Frost wrote as a preface to his 1939 edition of Collected Poems. In it, Frost describes what he believes are the tenets to a successful poem. Below is an excerpt from the essay. If you imagine that Frost is writing about the artist and the portrait instead of the writer and the poem, you can easily make the case that these tenets can also apply to the visual arts.

“The figure a poem makes. It begins in delight and ends in wisdom. The figure is the same as for love. No one can really hold that the ecstasy should be static and stand still in one place. It begins in delight, it inclines to the impulse, it assumes direction with the first line laid down, it runs a course of lucky events, and ends in a clarification of life not necessarily a great clarification, such as sects and cults are founded on, but in a momentary stay against confusion.

No tears in the writer, no tears in the reader. No surprise for the writer, no surprise for the reader. For me the initial delight is in the surprise of remembering something I didn’t know I knew. I am in a place, in a situation, as if I had materialized from cloud or risen out of the ground. There is a glad recognition of the long lost and the rest follows…”

-Robert Frost

The Figure A Portrait Makes
Co-Curated by:
Ryann Casey, Adjunct Instructor of Art
Michael Chovan-Dalton, Gallery Director

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