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Haines Gallery opens a group exhibition bringing together works by seven contemporary artists
Mike Henderson, Me and the Band, c. 1968. Oil on canvas, 55 x 96 inches. Photo: Courtesy of the artist and Haines Gallery.

SAN FRANCISCO, CA.- Haines Gallery is presenting Likenesses, a group exhibition bringing together works by seven contemporary artists from around the world to explore the conventions, possibilities, and limits of portraiture. The paintings, photographs, and mixed-media pieces included in Likenesses often reveal less about their human subjects than about the genre of portraiture as socially, psychologically, and politically charged.

Maurizio Anzeri embroiders vintage photographs with intricate filigrees of thread that obscure the faces of the original sitters while leaving exposed an eye, a mouth, or an ear. His colorful handiwork simultaneously masks and unmasks his subjects while upending the intentions of conventional portrait photography.

Kota Ezawa’s pared down renderings of music icons Jimi Hendrix and Joni Mitchell merge with Josef Albers’ colored squares to suggest portraiture as another form of abstraction; while his recreation of one of Cindy Sherman’s celebrated Untitled Film Stills adds yet another layer of scaffolding to its constructed subject.

A rare, early self-portrait by Bay Area painter Mike Henderson, showing the artist with his blues band, is a vibrant snapshot of mid-1960s San Francisco and its electic of artists and musicians. Rich colors, restless energy, and an affinity to music create a throughline from his early figuration and later move into pure abstraction.

Recent paintings by the Iranian artist Taha Heydari rework covers of the women’s magazine Zan-e Rooz (Woman of Today) published just prior to the Iranian revolution. The works depict a modern, secular, cosmopolitan subject who unwittingly poses on the precipice of her own extinction.

The figures in Matt Lipps’ large-scale photographs are cut from pages of Horizon, a mid-century American art and culture magazine, and arranged into complex groupings that amplify the role that images play in transmitting the dominant myths of a culture.

Belgium-based Congolese artist Aimé Mpane’s works with a traditional wood carving tool called an adze to create rough-hewn portraits painted and etched onto wooden panels. Newly completed in 2019, a series of portraits of the people he meets on the streets of Kinshasa explore modern Congolese identity.

In an enigmatic self-portrait from her groundbreaking Women of Allah series, Shirin Neshat embodies the role of a female warrior during the Iranian Islamic Revolution of 1979, hinting at the complexities and contradictions beneath the veil.

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