Suarez and Kaufman present a gallery of portraits

Julio Suarez & Roxanne Kaufman will animate an upcoming portrait gallery. Courtesy of Hillsdale Art Department

The Hillsdale Art Department will host a new exhibition at the Daughtery Art Gallery starting this weekend called “Likeness”, featuring portraits of Assistant Art Professor Julio Suarez and Visiting Art Professor and Director from the Daughtery Art Gallery Roxanne Kaufman.

The opening will take place on Friday, February 18 from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m.

“It’s a good time. We will have food and refreshments,” Suarez said. “It’s always fun. We like to see how people react to work.

Kaufman, who is a documentary portrait photographer in both digital and film formats, said the show focuses on the importance of community amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The initial thought was that we’re both into portraiture, so we should do a show together,” Kaufman said. “But we felt the current social climate with COVID-19, having a show that represents being with people reminds us of what’s really important and that the community is still thriving.”

Suarez said he painted most of the portraits for this show and painted many of his portraits from photos rather than people in person due to concerns and conditions of the COVID-19 pandemic, and as a way to challenge yourself.

“It’s not usual for me,” he said. “I wanted to see if I could find a way to make it work. A big part of the show was seeing if I could work from photos and bring it to life.

He notes that the challenge of creating portraits is for the artist not to impose anything on the person.

“It’s about looking and observing what’s there, not bringing in your own personal aura too much,” he said.

Suarez said he looks forward to interacting with people viewing his work.

“Ultimately, it’s the viewer who reacts,” he said. “You would think it was pretty simple figurative art, but people react differently than you might think, even considering being an artist.”

Julia P. Cluff