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21 Female Artists Use Self Portraits to Go Beyond the Selfie

By Irene Plagianos | September 21, 2016 5:11pm
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The "Self Reflection" exhibit will run Sept. 27 through Oct. 8
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Courtesy of Untitled Space

TRIBECA — This is not a selfie.

A new art exhibit called "Self Reflection" is focusing on the female form through the self portraits of the women who created them.

The show, at gallery The Untitled Space, features the paintings, photos, videos and mixed media of 21 female artists, who are "using their own likeness as a tool for enlightenment," said curator Indira Cesarine.

"In light of the modern day obsession with the selfie," Cesarine said, "it is important to turn an eye on the work of contemporary female artists who address self-portraiture, not with self promotion in mind, but to interrogate contemporary society and the social and political values we grapple with.”

Artist Sarah Maple said she likes to incorporate humor into her images, even while tackling complicated and sometimes difficult issues through her work.

Sarah Maple's photography will be on display at The Untitled Space.  (Courtesy of The Untitled Space)

"I think today there are many women using self portraiture because we are tired of being told by the media, society and religion etc, who we should be or what we should look like," she said in a statement. "I think by photographing ourselves we are reclaiming our image and finally controlling how we want to be seen in the world.” 

For artist Polly Penrose, the photos of her naked body, contorting in various spaces is quite literally a "fight to 'fit in,' to become part of that space." Her process, with each photo taken on a self-timer, often leaves her physically bruised and aching.

Polly Penrose's art will be on display at The Untitled Space. (Courtesy of The Untitled Space)

"It feels like I’m hammering my body into the landscape of the room, one picture at a time," Penrose said in a statement. "Although the pictures are an immediate unrehearsed response to a space, with little emotional consideration at the time of shooting, as a body of work, they have become deeply emotive for me. ” 

Left: Ahn Sun Mi “Auto Portrait 3”, Middle: ANGE “FINGERSPITZENGEFÜHL”, Right: Leah Schrager “Coco." (Courtesy of The Untitled Space)

"Self-portraiture has been a staple of art and photography in history," said curator Coco Dollie. "With today’s dissemination of the modern-day selfie, Self Reflection ponders the legitimate essence of the female artist study as its own subject and muse awash in a pixelated sea of instantaneous gratification often misconstrued as self-advertisement."

Self Reflection will be on display from Sept. 27 to Oct. 8, at The Untitled Space, 45 Lispenard Street. The gallery is open 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., everyday except Sunday.