Friday: "Visage" by Dalvin Wade Byron

Aug. 4

It is very hard to make a thing look like the thing it is. When it comes to portraiture, general rules about proportion can teach you something about facial structure and can guide you towards a certain realism, but then what? And how, in a portrait, can you translate the minuscule details—their crooked brow and dimpled chin, the light in their eyes—those things that make that person, well, that person? In an essay for the catalogue "Alice Neel, Uptown," critic Hilton Als writes about the way that Alice Neel's portraits (particularly those depicting people of color) stir the viewer's "interest and empathy" rather than sentimentality: "Neel...believed the world existed on its own terms, and it was our duty—as citizens, as artists—to know as much about it as possible, in order to better live in it and navigate it; to exist among all the broken glass and bottle caps and boys on the street, in a kind of unsentimental wonder." That's a good rule of thumb whether or not you make art or write about people but even if you just generally interact with other humans in your life, you know? Anyway, just some things to chew on as you peruse Abingdon-based artist Dalvin Wade Byron's show, whose painted portraits are an attempt to "honor his subjects, capture their inner power, and preserve the memory of his relationships with them." Opening reception 6-8 p.m., through Aug. 31, Jubilee Arts, 1947 Pennsylvania Ave., (410) 728-1199,, free. (Rebekah Kirkman)

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