This spring, downtown art space Engine in
"This is a psychic investigation of self," said curator
How do classic artists express themselves? A videographer, lumberjack, soccer mom, or tattooed teenager handy with an iPhone? What do they have in common?
"It's about intent," said McNeil, former executive director of the
Every day, 350 million selfies are posted in cyberspace, McNeil discovered. Whether a selfie lends insight into a person's soul or is a well-crafted digital mask is up for debate.
But instead of treating the pop phenom as ephemera, "we looked at a selfie as a serious endeavor, not 'yeah look at me at a party,'" said McNeil, who believes the reflection of self, whether a constellation of pixels or paint, is worthy of investigation.
"Artists willingness to look at themselves in this way, letting an audience see how they see themselves is really, really potent," said McNeil.
In her research, she discovered, "there are artists all over the country and the world that are using selfies as a jumping off point." She views these occurrences as "taking a modern concept and turning it into an ancient form of expression."
"There are folks out there taking selfies the same way an artist would attempt a self portraiture."
The featured artists' work encompass needlepoint self portraits by
Amid photographers, printmakers and sculptors in the show, nationally recognized public artist
Inviting the cellphone adept into the fold made sense for the arts organization known for pushing boundaries.
"Part of our mission here at Engine is to engage the public," said
That dialogue includes selfies by a local architect, farmers, a chef and even a closeup of a cat.
"We are looking across the spectrum, is the selfie a self portrait, or is it is it not?"
The opening reception for SELF/selfie will be held
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