Victor A. Henry
Reflecting OUT is an exhibit about small radical acts of love, featuring work created by six young artists, who formed a collective during a summer intensive with Barbara M. Bickart, Hetrick-Martin Institute: New Jersey Artist in Residence, and have continued to make work together throughout the fall.
Self-portraits made by artists are nothing new or particularly radical in the course of Art History. Self-portraits made by young queer people, on the other hand, are. The basic premise of Self-portraiture is about looking at yourself, about being willing to look at yourself long enough to make a mark to honor that self. Self-portraiture is about the willingness to Look and to try and See, about the willingness to put yourself at the center of your own mark-making, to be the subject of your own mark-making — not an easy task when the world gives you so many reasons to want to turn away from seeing that self, from who you are as a queer, in a world still too fraught with homophobia, transphobia, misogyny, and racism. Self-portraiture becomes a radical act of self-love, a remarkable act of courage. The marks in this show are that — a courageous collection of self-portraits, experiments in expression, all small radical acts of love about the willingness to look at oneself and to dare to document that self through mark making, a way of saying, “I see you. I love you.” Working for two intensive weeks in August as an artmaking collective, come together for the first time, meant that everyone took up the challenge of looking at themselves while witnessing one another doing the same thing. We turned to look at one another, as well, through making some pieces we made — I see you. I love you. I want you to stay.
Barbara M. Bickart
Artist in Residence
Hetrick-Martin Institute: New Jersey provides supportive services to LGBTQ Youth ages 13-21, at the main NJ location at 550 Broad St. in Newark.
Gallery Aferro, founded and run by artists since 2003, is proud to host this exhibition as part of our annual end of year affordable art sale, artisan market, potluck and party offerings.