About the Exhibition
Why are we fascinated by people and characters who are larger than life? What do they possess that draws us to them?
We see politicians and leaders, musicians, artists, cartoon characters, television personalities, professional athletes, scholars, activists. We see the players from the championship Warriors basketball team in Deatra Colbert’s drawing. Raven Harper honors Michelle Obama with a portrait and her powerful words of inspiration. Homage is paid to music icons Aretha Franklin, Tupac Shakur, Freddie Mercury, and Italian composer Rossini (portrayed through a painted vinyl recording of his famous William Tell Overture). From the big and small screens we have King Kong, Maggie from The Simpsons, and local television news personalities Alex Savidge and Dave Clark.
These portraits prompt us to wonder, who is the artist, and what is their relationship to their larger-than-life subject? What kind of conversation would they have if they had the chance?
The final work, Powell-Smith’s video “Three Places Where Jason Picks Up the Bus” (in which the artist literally is doing just that), is full of humor. This Herculean self-portrait offers the perfect ending on the theme of “Larger Than Life.” It’s good to end with a smile, don’t you think?
About the Organizer
I am an art educator, museum professional, writer, and arts consultant. Since moving to Oakland from NYC just over a year ago, I've worked at the San Francisco Art Institute and now am working with The Art Standard, a San Francisco-based startup with a mission of supporting art and cultural preservation through immersive experiences and NFTs. I've taught in NYC public high schools and in higher education at NYU and at the Rhode Island School of Design.
My publications include the books Contemporary Art and Multicultural Education, and the anthologies Theory in Contemporary Art (with Simon Leung), and Global Visual Cultures. The focus that unites all my work is increasing inclusion and access in the arts, expanding arenas for underrepresented artists, and working to build community and increase access, connection, and participation across underserved local communities.