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Exhibition "Dressed Up" opens At Kansas City's Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art
Hope Gangloff, Vera, 2013; acrylic on canvas, 81 x 54 inches; Collection of Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art, Museum purchase made possible by a gift from Paul Uhlmann Jr., 2013.2

KANSAS CITY, MO.- The theater of the self, influenced by cultural, personal, and narrative visual vernaculars, takes center stage in Dressed Up, an exhibition that presents works in a range of media by artists Hope Gangloff, Trenton Doyle Hancock, Marcia Kure, and Neeta Madahar. The exhibition Dressed Up is on view October 11, 2013–April 27, 2014, at the Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art in Kansas City, Missouri. Admission to the Kemper Museum is free.

Dressed Up seeks to examine, critique, and expand notions of what constitutes a self-image in contemporary art. In presenting works that are impacted by the uniquely complex and captivating intersections of nature, culture, artifice, and perception, the vivid expressions of the artists’ identities and personas unfold in the depictions of others. While the image of the self-portrait remains paramount in the history of art, the works in Dressed Up reveal distinct yet universal aspects of the contemporary theater of the self in a broader global and conceptual context.

New York-based artist Hope Gangloff’s contemporary take on the portrait tradition introduces us to her artist community comrades. She captures a 21st-century aesthetic of clothing and mood combined with a 19th-century love of line and gesture as seen in works like Vera (2013). Houston-based artist Trenton Doyle Hancock’s Fear Head (2008) and The Year (2009) series show a pivotal stylistic and thematic transition in the artist’s body of work. The dynamic depictions of heads or masklike forms convey the hybridization of Hancock’s past employment of complex narrative motifs with current autobiographical tropes. Hip Hop culture meets Victorian excess in a series of watercolor-and-photo collages by Nigerian-born artist Marcia Kure. Portraits and collages from multiple series explore layers that convey Kure’s visual perceptions of race, culture, fashion, and femininity. The complexities of contemporary female beauty and identity are themes also shared by British-born artist of South Asian descent Neeta Madahar. Photographs from her Flora (2009–2010) series depict female friends of the artists in creative command of painstakingly constructed settings akin to glamorous portraits from the 1930s.

Dressed Up is organized by the Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art and co-curated by the Museum’s Executive Director Barbara O’Brien, and Erin Dziedzic, curator and head of adult programs. Many programs, including talks by each artist (noted below), have been organized in conjunction with the exhibition.

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