THE RECEPTION

The Reception is an ongoing series of portraits featuring people of colour mimicking the not so welcoming white faces who often greet us at art openings. Each work is a diptych that provides the presentable response to a frosty reception. Drawings are mundanely numbered chronologically, like library books, recalling the typical nature of this irritating nonverbal communication. Works are best displayed at eye level, and, whenever possible, each pair should be hung across the room to simulate staring at each other. 

Filling a room with these visual exchanges helps produce the feelings of disdain and sarcasm at thesame time. It also pushes the viewer to feel like everyone in the room has their eyes on them. Mirrored frames help viewers recognize themselves in the work. Either as the person who experiences what it is like to be made less comfortable from a disapproving gaze, and hopefully laugh since it is personified on very different facial features. Or, a viewer might learn what it feels like to be sneered at, which, perhaps a shade too optimistically, may provoke them to realize this is an expression they regularly wear and might opt to change.

Each drawing is made with black sharpie and pencil on white watercolour paper. This palette of varying intensities of gray against contrasts of black on a white background is meant to mock the notion that race is either just black or white. The faces are slightly larger than life size at 18.5 x 22.5 inches framed. Colour is intentionally removed from theimages to make them feel like historical records. They are drawn with enough shading to lend them the quality of old black and white photographs, and reference the images we take of ourselves at openings, just with a slightly more somber filter.

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© Steve Khan Last updated July 2020. Proudly created with wix.com.