No one gives Picasso shit for all the self portraits he’s painted. And I’m yet to hear someone call Frida Kahlo’s self portraits “navel gazing.” But right now, the self portrait is under fire. People like to heap a lot of scorn on selfie-takers, folks who have read up on how to pose for the best pic and keep their smartphone cameras set to “Beauty” mode. The selfie is often derided as being selfish and trite, but people’s desire to be immortalized, in the best possible light, is a major part of being human. I’m talking about legacies, we all want a sweet one. In Self Indulgence, 21 artists working in a range of traditional materials, including painting, photography, and sculpture, present their self portraits. Some are so life-like you can almost hear them breathing, while others are abstract in the extreme. The face we show to the world is an important one; given time to consider it, what did these creative types come up with? Go see Self Indulgence to find out.
Self Indulgence: 21 self portraits. Through Sept. 29. Free. Hampden Gallery, UMass Amherst, 131 Southwest Circle, Amherst. (413) 545-3394.
— Kristin Palpini, email@example.com