Is It A True Likeness?

TJC Gallery, Spartanburg, South Carolina
April 19, 2018 – June 17, 2018

Woman as muse is a universal art theme. In America, artists have utilized various expressive visual strategies to interpret the female form. Conventional genres like formal academic portraiture illustrating the social elite and impressionistic renderings of idealized youth pictured women within expected boundaries. Comparatively, avant-garde styles portraying bold, independent women aided in liberating the female identity from cultural constraints. While both traditional and progressive likenesses were created by Southern artists, such depictions did not necessarily reflect women’s realities. In truth, throughout the early twentieth century women in the South largely conformed to established gender roles dictated by the region’s conservative values. Is It A True Likeness? juxtaposes a medley of paintings and sculpture—including works by John Alberts, Emma Amos, Leslie Bolling, William Cooper, Elliott Daingerfield, José De CreeftGladys Nelson SmithCharles White, and Mary Whyte—which trace the evolution of female subjects over two centuries. In doing so, the exhibition, curated by Wofford College senior and TJC intern Michal Busbee, encourages a dialogue about the multiplicity of female identity and the accuracy of its portrayals across media, makers, and time.