Must-See Museum Shows | The Outwin 2016 American Portraiture Today

Tacoma Art Museum, February 4-May 14

Rick Ashley, Michael #145973, inkjet print, 44 x 65.

Rick Ashley, Michael #145973, inkjet print, 44 x 65.

This story was featured in the January 2017 issue of Southwest Art magazine. Get the Southwest Art  January 2017 print issue or digital download now–then subscribe to Southwest Art and never miss another story.

For the first time ever, the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery is taking its triennial Outwin Boochever Portrait Competition on the road. The first—and only West Coast—stop: the Tacoma Art Museum in Washington state.

The Outwin competition is pertinent in our era of selfie sticks and candid portraits because, historically, portraits were saved for the rich and famous. “Today, portraits are motivated by different ideas,” says Margaret Bullock, curator of special exhibitions at the Tacoma Art Museum. “Contemporary portraiture is about expressing something larger than just the person on canvas; they’re not hiding behind this seemingly perfect representation anymore.” Bullock is thrilled to host the exhibition because it connects people on a national level—the images present a cross-section of American society and diversity, so it’s natural for the exhibit to travel.

Over a year after the call for submissions closed, the jurors awarded the top three winners and four honorable mentions. The finalists are a diverse mix of emerging and established artists who submitted paintings, photographs, drawings, sculpture, and installations. Amy Sherald of Baltimore, MD, painted the winning piece, MISS EVERYTHING (UNSUPPRESSED DELIVERANCE). In addition to her grand prize of $25,000, Sherald is also provided the opportunity to create a portrait for the Portrait Gallery’s permanent collection.

This prestigious juried exhibition, demonstrating a diverse approach to the artistic exploration of oneself and others, is on display at the National Portrait Gallery until January 8. Then the 43 winner and finalist artworks travel west to Tacoma. — Katie Askew

This story was featured in the January 2017 issue of Southwest Art magazine. Get the Southwest Art  January 2017 print issue or digital download now–then subscribe to Southwest Art and never miss another story.

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