SMGA Portrait Exhibition Celebrates Human Experience

Antonius-Tin Bui, “Ancestors couldn’t even dream of them,” 2018, hand-cut paper, acrylic paint.

UPDATE! Due to unexpected repairs, our exhibition True Likeness will close at 12 noon on Thursday, January 13, 2021. We invite you to come soon to see this incredible collection of portraits. Visitors must wear face coverings inside the gallery.

The Sarah Moody Gallery of Art is proud to present True Likeness, an exhibition of nearly 70 portraits, which will run November 4 – December 22, 2021, and January 4 – 13, 2022. The public is invited to a reception Thursday, November 11, 2021, from 4:00 to 6:00 p.m. in the gallery.

Check out installation views of the exhibition here.

The portraits in True Likeness represent the complexity of selfhood and are a celebration of human experience, both at the individual level and as an expression of cultural identities. The exhibition is curated by Tom Stanley and Lia Newman. “The artists in True Likeness draw attention to manufactured and real notions that different communities hold about one another,” Stanley said. “They remind us that the human image is a powerful indicator of reality, wishful thinking, memory, and perception.”

The exhibition took shape over a two-year period when overt and coded hate speech dominated one of the most divisive elections of our time. In response, the curators felt that highlighting and celebrating diversity was paramount. The exhibition of nearly 70 contemporary portraits represents the contemporary American landscape — with artists from all over the country forming a narrative varied in both background and media, including video, painting, drawing, sculpture, photography and printmaking. Many works are produced from traditional art materials while others are created using found objects and everyday items. Some artists work in digital photography, others in darkroom photography. Paintings produced on found board with house paint can be seen alongside solid, carved wooden sculpture.

Tom Stanley and Lia Newman organized True Likeness for Van Every Galleries, Davidson College, where Newman is curator and director. Stanley is an artist, educator and curator whose interests and research of folk artists informed the vision of this project. Additional support was provided by the Herb Jackson and Laura Grosch Gallery Endowment, Davidson College Friends of the Arts, and Stories Yet to be Told: Race, Racism, and Accountability, a Davidson College institutional initiative.

The Sarah Moody Gallery of Art is an essential part of the education and development of UA students and our community. We invite you to visit the gallery for a class, an opportunity to look at art, or just a quiet, meditative respite from the outside world. Visitors must wear face coverings inside the gallery. Have questions or need assistance? Call (205) 348-1891.

Funding support for the Sarah Moody Gallery of Art comes from the UA Department of Art and Art History and the College of Arts and Sciences. Additional support comes from the Farley Moody Galbraith Endowed Exhibition Fund. Admission to the gallery is free. Hours are Monday through Friday, 9:00 a.m.–4:30 p.m. when school is in session. The gallery is located at 103 Garland Hall in the heart of UA campus on Woods Quad. Information about visitor parking is available on the UA Parking Services website. Parking is free on campus in a legal space after business hours. For further information, contact the gallery at 348-1891 or visit the gallery online.

For more information about The University of Alabama’s programs in art history and studio art, visit our Degree Programs page.