Susan White Brown
These painting installations depict people in museums engaged in looking at the art on display; viewers are the subjects of the work. Looking at art informs an individual’s sense of her/his/ their own context in society, of who is creating context and whether that context needs revision. These “portraits” are meant to be reflexive: viewers who are present in the gallery space see themselves, and each other, in their painted counterparts. A solitary figure determines the space within each canvas—and beyond it—through gaze, stance, and scale. This empowerment of the pictured viewer in turn implies empowerment of the live viewer in the gallery. Though relationships among the portrayed figures vary with grouping and placement, each observer’s perception of their presumed identities is unique. The personal “lens” of an observer prioritizes or dismisses details, mirroring the limitations we bring to our understanding of our fellow human beings. We may all “look” at the same thing, but we each “see” something different.