This is Not a Self-Portrait - Ian Skedd - Gallery 295 (2014)

This is not a Self-Portrait
Ian Skedd

GALLERY 295
October 30 - December 19, 2014

Composed as a series of portraits, Skedd brings together a variety of artistic and cultural references and enhances them through repetition. In this exhibition, the minimalistic gesture of repetition informs Skedd’s research towards decoding historical and contemporary insights on portraiture. The work presented weaves text and image as a reflection on the modern world and its art, life, ironies, contradictions and associated dilemmas, and is constituted as a framed series of 26 identical self-portraits installed in a linear fashion around the three walls of the gallery. The portrait of the artist himself is rendered secondary to the intervention of graphics and text in the work. Two black rectangular bars censor the identifying features of each framed portrait and are adhered onto the exterior surface of the frame. These bars cover the eyes and mouth of the artist and further deface the frame, obstructing any formal notions associated with the contained portrait and framing device. This act of obscuring is emblematic of Skedd’s understanding of contemporary portraiture.  He further isolates each of the portraits with the addition of text and punctuation onto the black rectangular bars and intends the portrait to be read as an isolated declaration or statement. Borrowing from various cultural and pop cultural sources ranging from the Sex Pistols to art critic and historian Michael Fried, Skedd presents the series of frames in a manner that asks for a linear read and while the resulting installation is not a fully structured narrative, it allows for each portrait to express an individualism lost among the repetitive gesture of the installation. Conversely, the framed works are also intended to be read as pairings, with two portraits containing text followed by a single image serving as a grammatical break. The composition of these elements allows each pair of images to stand alone, yet, when read as a whole, the semicolon - as it does in poetry - links the shared ideas, meaning the reader should pause, but not come to a complete stop, because the next line is directly tied to the one just read. As a whole, the installation of portraits and text within the gallery results in an enjambment between the paired series of portrait-texts within the larger installation, which further obscures the layered flow in the reading of the work and understanding of a portrait.

Exhibition text by Patryk Stasieczek, co-curated with Mike Love.