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Laura Karetzky - Projects - Luis De Jesus Los Angeles

Installation view of Laura Karetkzy's Toast, 2019 at the National Portrait Gallery.


Luis De Jesus Los Angeles is pleased to announce that Laura Karetzky is a finalist in the 2022 Outwin Boochever Portrait Competition. The National Portrait Gallery’s triennial Outwin Boochever Portrait Competition celebrates excellence in the art of portraiture. The portraits will be on view at the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery through February 26, 2023. 

The National Portrait Gallery’s triennial Outwin Boochever Portrait Competition is the realization of Virginia Outwin Boochever’s gift to the Smithsonian and the nation, a testament to the transformative power of one individual to make an impact. Every three years, artists living and working in the United States are invited by the museum to submit one of their recent portraits to a panel of experts. The selected artworks reflect the compelling and diverse approaches contemporary artists are using to tell the American story through portraiture.

The forty-two portraits on view here were selected through an open call that garnered more than 2,700 entries from artists working across the United States and Puerto Rico. The artists responded with works that engage contemporary society, many providing new insights into the unprecedented reality we have experienced in the time surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic. The selected finalists create artworks in a wide range of media, including painting, drawing, photography, sculpture, textiles, video, and performance. They demonstrate how capacious and changing the genre of portraiture can be, and illuminate the genre's power to make visible a multitude of life experiences.

With this large-scale painting, Laura Karetzky magnifies the role of technology in personal relationships. Her reflection appears in the metal toaster during a gathering to celebrate Hanukkah. Standing in a kitchen, near the yellow glow of the menorah, Karetzky can be seen trying to capture the instant while friends compose images of their own. Their gazes are, for the most part, focused on their phones. As individuals rely more and more on screen-based technology to bring them together, Karetzky notes that she is interested in “the experience of being in the same room and yet not.” This tension between real-life encounters and the proliferation of photographic images is something Toast addresses, not only through subject matter but also through materials. Karetzky treats her canvas with drips and distortions, creating a work that is textural and tactile, one that evokes the original moment.

View Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery

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