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New Accession Highlight: Manon Cleary

Our exhibit of recent accessions continues in the back Rowland Gallery—if you’ve not yet seen it, sign up for an appointment time here—and we’re featuring each of the pieces in turn digitally as well. Here we’re taking a look at Self-Portrait by Manon Cleary.

photograph by artist Manon Cleary

Manon Cleary, (American, 1942–2011), Self-Portrait, 1984, graphite, 19 1/2 x 26 in., gift of Richard E. Brock, 2019.20.1

Cleary is remembered for her prolific output of painstakingly photo-realistic paintings and drawings addressing themes of the human body and sexuality, including her own. In this large graphite self-portrait, Cleary leveraged graphite’s potential to emulate a black and white photograph. Degrees of distortion, such as the blur of the artist’s moving hair, are effects frequently observed in photographs. Rather than an image captured by a camera in a fraction of a second, however, Cleary’s self-portrait is an intensely introspective work, meticulously developed inch by inch over countless hours.