New Portraits Exhibition Opens at Scottsdale Civic Center

Scottsdale Public Art

Scottsdale Public Art is now showing a juried portraits exhibition at the Scottsdale Civic Center Library. “I Am You, You Are Me: Portraits” will remain on view through June 21, 2021, at the Civic Center Public Gallery inside the library, located at 3839 N. Drinkwater Blvd., Scottsdale.

In the “selfie” age, photographic self-portraits are abundant. The ease with which we can make ourselves look perfect — with filters, angles and lighting — is a click away. However, an artist creates a portrait to satisfy their vision of the subject, whether of themselves or someone else. What does the artist see? “I Am You, You Are Me” explores that question.

“When someone is rendering a portrait, the line between the artist and the sitter are blurred, and the portrait is a representation of the relationship between artist and sitter, however brief or lengthy,” said curator Wendy Raisanen of Scottsdale Public Art. “There’s energy exchanged between these people. How the artist feels about and truly sees the subject is shown in the artwork.”

Raisanen was particularly interested in showing the works of artists who created portraits of each other. Some of the exhibiting artists fulfilled that prompt, like longtime friends and collaborators Jane Kelsey-Mapel and Becky Frehse, who created humorous portraits of each other holding their dogs and posing with their artwork. Kelsey-Mapel, of Phoenix, stitched and stuffed a photo transfer on a vintage textile to portray Frehse, while Frehse, of Tacoma, Washington, created a layered and painterly collage to portray Kelsey-Mapel.

“As a visual artist, I am usually in the role of the observer. For this show, I became the subject matter as well,” Kelsey-Mapel said. “It was a bit like putting the shoe on the other foot. I thought ‘Oh, that’s how she sees me!’”

Other artists submitted either self-portraits or depictions they had made of other subjects. Dana Corbo of Scottsdale did both.

“Stubborn,” her self-portrait, shows her entire body from a low angle of view with a variety of details (bright hair color, exaggerated leg hair, other objects in the background) that could lead the viewer to draw conclusions or assumptions. These details allow the viewer to know things about her, but do they get to know her? Corbo said she intentionally offered little information in her facial details about who she is.

Conversely, with “Nicholas in Trouble,” the artist tried to capture an expression of her subject that exposes concern, anxiety and concentration. She composed the painting in a way that her subject’s face is the entire focus.

“I like people, but I love characters, especially in novels,” Corbo said. “The challenge of painting a face, revealing a person’s character, is equal to the reward of doing it successfully. Dissecting a person and then reconstructing them through painting brings me joy.”

Other artists in the exhibition include Susan Allred (Tempe), Laura Amphlett (Phoenix), Neil Borowicz (Tempe), Rebecca Clark (Tucson), Turner Davis (Phoenix), Katherine Del Rosario (Tempe), Jerome Fleming (Phoenix), Lex Gjurasic (Tucson), Dain Q. Gore (Laveen), Ira Grin (Chandler), Tiesha Harrison (Phoenix), Lilach Keren (Scottsdale), Galya Kerns (Litchfield Park), Kathi Knox (Phoenix), Brianna Noble (Phoenix), Eliza Plumlee (Tucson), Kara Roschi (Phoenix), Alexandra Ross (Mitchell, Manitoba, Canada), William Touhey (Tucson), Chris Vena (Tempe), Johanna Virgil (Goodyear), Ingrid Wells (San Francisco) and Wendy Willis (Phoenix).

For more information about “I Am You, You Are Me: Portraits” and to view the virtual exhibition, visit

Through its dynamic partnership with the city of Scottsdale, the nonprofit Scottsdale Arts (formerly known as Scottsdale Cultural Council) creates diverse, inspired arts experiences and educational and outreach opportunities for the community, while fostering active engagement of individuals, businesses, education and government with the arts. Since its founding in 1987, Scottsdale Arts has grown into a regionally and nationally significant, multi-disciplinary arts organization offering an exceptional variety of programs through four acclaimed branches — Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts, Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art (SMoCA), Scottsdale Public Art and Scottsdale Arts Learning & Innovation — serving more than 600,000 participants annually. In conjunction with the city of Scottsdale, we also host more than 200,000 people annually on our campus through a robust rentals program.

The mission of Scottsdale Public Art is to make Scottsdale one of the most desirable communities in the country in which to live, work and visit by incorporating art and design projects throughout. In 1985, the city of Scottsdale established Scottsdale Public Art with the goal to enhance the quality of life for its residents and visitors. Since then, more than 100 permanent and temporary public artworks have been commissioned throughout the community. Scottsdale’s program and projects have won local, regional and national awards.

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