Travis Somerville, The Love That Forgives, 2014. Graphite and conté Crayon on children’s chairs, dimensions variable.

Travis Somerville

Birmingham, Alabama

beta pictoris gallery

Birmingham, past and present, became a site of charged memory in Travis Somerville’s recent exhibition, “American Rhetoric.” His brooding paintings and sculptures feature the piercing gaze of three different groups—glaring, black adults, children who died in the 16th Street Baptist Church bombing, and dour-looking white men in blackface—all highly confrontational images that challenge viewers to acknowledge Birmingham’s all-too-recent past. These faces and other works draw on the emotive power of portraiture, as well as the loaded nature of visual culture, to create a testament to America’s tortured relationship with the past. Graphite and conté portraits on vintage objects dominated the exhibition…see the entire review in the print version of March’s Sculpture magazine.