Friday, July 8, 2016

Outwin Boochever Portrait Competition 2016 Exhibition

Paul D'Ámato, Riverside, Illinois, Inkjet print, 2013. Collection of the artist, courtesy of Stephen Daiter Gallery, Chicago, IL. (Margaret and Marquetta Tisdell, Original Providence Baptist Church.)

Are you familiar with the Outwin Boochever Portrait Competition (OBPC) at the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery (NPG)? I recently visited the 2016 exhibition which was the result of this competition at the National Portrait Gallery. The OBPC exhibition will be on view through January 8, 2017. As background, The Outwin Boochever Portrait Competition is currently scheduled as a triennial event, and since its inaugural competition in 2006, the 2016 exhibition represents its fourth iteration. 

"The Outwin Boochever Portrait Competition was made possible by benefactor Virginia Outwin Boochever (1920–2005), a former Portrait Gallery docent who volunteered at the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery for 19 years. Boochever also shared the museum’s increasing interest in the important role that contemporary portraiture could play in the life of the gallery, as well as in heralding the museum’s engagement with figurative art and portraiture in today’s world."(NPG Blog, October 1, 2015) 

Finalists of the Outwin Boochever Portrait Competition (not all are pictured). Image: National Portrait Gallery

The National Portrait Gallery invited artists from all over America to investigate the art of contemporary portraiture for its fourth Outwin Boochever Portrait Competition. The 43 finalists, selected from over 2,500 entrants, have their work shown in the exhibition, The Outwin 2016: American Portraiture Today. "The artists selected represent excellence in the art of portraiture. They also tackle some of the most pressing topics in the political and cultural realms, including investigations of race and gender, the fragility of childhood in our increasingly complicated world, and the psychological impact of migration."    The winner, Amy Sherald of Baltimore, Maryland, received a grand prize of $25,000 for her painting, "Miss Everything (Unsuppressed Deliverance)."

Amy Sherald, Baltimore, MD., Miss Everything (Unsuppressed Deliverance).Oil on canvas, 2013, Frances and Burton Reifler. 
 "Sherald creates innovative, dynamic portraits that, through color and form, confront the psychological effects of stereotypical imagery on African American subjects. ...Using light gray paint, Sherald  'emits' skin color so her subjects appear both realistic and otherworldly." (excerpts from museum wall text)

Exploring the depth and breadth of the selections in this exhibition, portraiture has been loosely and creatively interpreted. Read about some of the finalists.

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