The Department of Fine Arts is pleased to present “Empathy,” an exhibition of paintings by graduating senior Amelia Griffin on view in Goodwyn Gallery from November 27 through December 1, 2017. Ten oil on canvas portraits picture the artist’s friends and family.
Drawn from digital photographs posted on Facebook, the artist intends to raise questions “relating to what can be viewed for public and/or private consumption…The paintings are material evidence of a visual, rather than a spoken dialogue, with the subject.” Beyond a practice in visual understanding, subjects were also invited to visit the exhibition in person, in order to “confront their portraits.”
In this way, Griffin hopes to forge deeper connections with her subjects. As she explains in her artist statement: “Emotions, euphoria, and loss are conveyed through the tactile skin of oil paint…My act of giving completes the cathartic time-based cycle of contemplation through the process of making art within the solitary meditative confines of the studio.” The spaces of private and public therefore blur in “Empathy,” both through the processes of making and of exhibiting.
What would your Facebook feed look like in painted portraits? How often are we asked to quickly empathize with an individual through a photograph on social media? How does that change the ways that we emotionally relate to and engage with our friends and family? “Empathy” asks us to contemplate these very questions and consider the ways that we share the important moments of our lives in a very public digital world.