The Irrational Portrait Gallery


The Irrational Portrait Gallery

June 26, 2014 – Sunday, July 20, 2014

Southampton, NY



The Irrational Portrait Gallery
A collaborative project by FRESH and Rick Wenner

In 1825, a French inventor by the name of Nicéphore Niépce produced the world’s first photograph. Until the advent of the camera, it was a painter’s job to record our visual surroundings, most of all, what we looked like. This new technology called photography now offered a more accessible and inexpensive form of portraiture, which became more widely available to lower income people rather than just the wealthy. As the photographer quickly replaced the painter in the field of portrait making, painters responded by creating their impression of what they saw around them. Thus, the invention of the camera not only ushered in a bold new technology, it also unchained the painter who was now free to explore.

The camera was painting’s salvation and opened the doors to modern art as we know it.

Nearly 200 years after Niépce snapped the world’s first photo, human beings throughout the world now have immediate access to photographic devices. Our world is flooded with images, some insightful and some superficial. We live in an age where technology has offered the idea that everyone is a potential photographer. Anything can be manipulated to achieve a particular aesthetic. The Irrational Portrait Gallery explores the relationship between the photograph and the manipulated image.

Twenty selected artists have had their portraits taken by acclaimed photographer Rick Wenner. Large format prints have been made and given back to each artist. The artists have been given complete freedom to confront, alter, and manipulate the image of themselves. The final pieces will be collaborative and displayed together. The exhibition will explore how we view ourselves, how we are seen by others, and whether or not it makes any difference between what is real and what is unreal.

“Every portrait that is painted with feeling is a portrait of the artist, not of the sitter.”
? Oscar Wilde, The Picture of Dorian Gray

The Irrational Portrait Gallery