Face Forward


Face Forward: Self-Image & Self-Worth
at the Richmond Art Center in Richmond, California, USA
27 March-19 May 2018

The group exhibition, “Face Forward: Self-Image & Self-Worth”, includes artists working across many platforms to address issues of identity, race, gender, status and societal values. Painting, photography, sculpture, collage, and video present the variety of ways in which artists situate themselves in life.

Over the centuries artists from Rembrandt to Warhol have used the self-portrait as a vehicle to investigate aging, wealth and poverty, social position and social non-conformity. The contemporary artists gathered together in this exhibition use the self-portrait in these and other explorations to reflect contemporary life. In these times of diversity and multicultural experience, the artist’s image is both a cypher for the human condition as well as the foundation for complex iconography in which the cultural object stands to reflect the impact of societal norms on the individual.

Collagist Vanessa Woods is among the artists represented, presenting work from her 2014-2016 series, “(In)Visible”. She says about this work, “Identities and bodies are tangled and draped with fabric. The fabric represents the beginning and end of the life cycle. I began this series during my first pregnancy, which also coincided with death of my grandfather and the deterioration of a close friend. I was thinking about the furling and unfurling of life and how mysterious and arbitrary it can be–how there is a constant sense of unknowing or invisibility. Later, when I gave birth to my son, my body was draped in blue hospital cloth. Concurrently, my grandfather passed away and his body was draped with cloth before being removed. I began to see the cloth as a metaphor for life and death. In this series, bodies emerge and disappear from fabric, as do histories and allegories. The fabric acts as a way to reconfigure and reimagine history, time and the body.”

From the groundbreaking feminist work of Judy Dater in her personifications of societal expectations, to the deceptively bright scenes of Allan deSouza’s collaged alter-ego responding to racism, these artworks all bring pause. The underlying values of contemporary society are brought forward for reflection and response.

Other artists participating in “Face Forward: Self-Image & Self-Worth” include Mildred Howard, Judith Linhares, Abel Rodriguez, Nyé Lyn Tho, Lava Thomas, and Cate White. Using brush or camera, these artists bring humor, persistence, and intimacy to life.

(adapted from the gallery’s and artist’s press materials)


Richmond Art Center
2540 Barrett Avenue
Richmond, California 94804 USA
(510) 620-6772

Tuesday-Saturday, 10AM-5PM


from the “(In)Visible” series
by Vanessa Woods
Image courtesy of the artist