L.A. Looking (or how to engage your stranger friends)
'L.A. Looking, or how to engage your stranger friends,' brings together a multitude of approaches to contemporary portraiture. In the included works, some artists push their portraits toward abstraction, while others offer uncanny reads of their subjects—friends, lovers, strangers, public figures, and themselves.
In colloquial use, ‘Stranger friends’ refers to online-only acquaintances. An oxymoronic term, it attests to the range of intimacies, relationships (and the inherent contradictions within) that the selected artists approach. Many of the included portraits intimate a reciprocal exchange—a tenderness even—between sitter and maker. Other works deliberately upend the terms of this intimacy, instead offering critical perspectives on the construction of representational images and the act of looking itself.
Through a variety of media and techniques, including oil on canvas, sculpture, photography, digitally mediated images, and found objects, the artists in 'LA Looking, or how to engage your stranger friends' reference historical conventions of portraiture while attempting to disrupt such restrictive structures.