A! Magazine for the Arts

Forgive Me (Portrait of Keith McDaniel), 1984,  Jerry Torn (American, 1933–2018), color lithograph on paper. Gift of Jerry Torn

Forgive Me (Portrait of Keith McDaniel), 1984, Jerry Torn (American, 1933–2018), color lithograph on paper. Gift of Jerry Torn

VMFA on the Road Artmobile Exhibition Coming to a Location Near You

March 14, 2022

The Virginia Museum of Fine Arts announces that VMFA on the Road: An Artmobile for the 21st Century is kicking off 2022 with a new exhibition, "Revealing and Obscuring Identity: Portraits from the Permanent Collection." This exciting exhibition of paintings, photographs and prints from the museum’s permanent collection explores portraiture through a variety of periods, cultures and styles.

The Artmobile travels across the Commonwealth, from the Eastern Shore to the mountains of the Southwest, where it can be found at fairs, schools, libraries and other community centers in rural and underserved parts of the state. In March,VMFA on the Road is scheduled to make its first stop at Piedmont Arts in Martinsville. Other stops have already been scheduled throughout the state including Ashland, Bristol, Farmville, Lynchburg, Madison, Rustburg, Surry, the town of Cape Charles, Tazewell County and West Point.

“In addition to welcoming visitors to our Richmond campus, where they can enjoy our collections and educational programming 365 days a year, the museum is committed to making art accessible to all Virginians,” said Alex Nyerges, VMFA’s Director and CEO. “We encourage everyone to see this insightful new exhibition of portraiture when VMFA on the Road visits a location near them.”

Throughout history, traditional portraits have typically been reserved for the elite of society, to signify the sitter’s wealth, power, attractiveness and intelligence. Over time, the genre has become more expressive and many of the works in this exhibition explore themes about the nature of art, the perception of beauty and the cultural influences on identity. Viewers of Revealing and Obscuring Identity: Portraits from the Permanent Collection will experience the shift that occurred in portraiture over the decades.

“Traditional portraiture typically glorifies the sitter, idealizing the subject’s appearance and stature within the context of stylized presentation, symbolism and careful composition. Expressionist portraiture is different in that the works distort reality to evoke mood and emotion,” said Jeffrey Allison, VMFA’s Director of Statewide Programs and Exhibitions and Paul Mellon Collection Educator. “This VMFA on the Road exhibition considers how the sitter’s identity is portrayed — whether through attributes like race, occupation or status — and reveals the artist’s own core identity through works of art.”

Diverse works by more than 10 artists, including Kitagawa Utamaro (Japan), Gordon Stettinius (American), André L’Hote (French) and S. Ross Browne (American), are featured in the exhibition.

Admission to VMFA on the Road is free. For the duration of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Artmobile gallery can accommodate up to 15 people, students and adults included, for 15-minute visits. All staff and visitors are required to wear masks. More information about VMFA on the Road can be found at www.VMFA.museum.