SELF exhibition opening at Zhaoqing University (Zhaoqing, China)  (December 23 - 26, 2005).  SELF is a culmination of Zhaoqing University and Maine College of Art (Portland, Maine, U.S.A.) art students working simultaneously on their self-portraiture.
Students view images. Zhaoqing University images seen to the left and right. Maine College of Art images seen center.

Overview of the gallery. Zhaoqing University images seen to the left. Maine College of Art images seen far center/right.

Students view their classmates' images.

Overview of the gallery. Zhaoqing University images seen on the walls.

Students view Maine College of Art images.

Student views slide show of the digital art images on monitor. Zhaoqing University images seen to the left and right. Maine College of Art images seen far center.

Chen You Sheng (School Leader, Zhaoqing University) [left], Lu Li (Dean, Fine Arts Department) [next] and He Sei (School Leader, Zhaoqing University) [behind] view Maine College of Art images.

Lu Li (Dean, Fine Arts Department) talks [gestures] with He Sei (School Leader, Zhaoqing University) about the digital art. Zhaoqing University art seen on the walls.

School faculty and leaders talk about the art with students. Zhaoqing University art seen on the walls.

Chen You Sheng (School Leader, Zhaoqing University), center, talks with Qiu Yi Hui (art student) about his print and new media art. He Sei (School Leader, Zhaoqing University), far left, looks on.

Students read the descriptive text about the exhibition. Maine College of Art images seen to the left and Zhaoqing University images seen to the right.

Lu Li (Dean, Fine Arts Department) talks about [and points] Li Wen Wen's composite art to Chen You Sheng (School Leader, Zhaoqing University).

Students view their classmates' images. Monitor seen center with Qiu Yi Hui's New Media counterpart to his print image on the wall.

Students view their classmates' images.

Students view their classmates' images.

Left to right: Staff member (Fine Arts Department), Lu Li (Dean, Fine Arts Department), Tom R. Chambers (Visiting Lecturer, Digital/New Media Art, Fine Arts Department), Jiang Xian Ming (art student), Chen You Sheng (School Leader, Zhaoqing University), Qiu Yi Hui (art student) and He Sei (School Leader, Zhaoqing University).
This project is a collaboration between students in China and America under the instruction of Tom R. Chambers at Zhaoqing University (Zhaoqing, Guangdong Province, China) and George LaRou at the Maine College of Art (Portland, Maine, U.S.A.).

The self-portrait gives the artist the greatest freedom from external constraints. Because the artist is his or her own cheapest and most available model, the self-portrait is the finest opportunity to make the most flattering statement or the most penetrating revelation of character of which he or she is capable [The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright 2005, Columbia University Press]. The artist tries not only to express his inner drive through aesthetic presentation, but also to examine that drive through portrayal of the most intimate subject, the self.

Analysis:

"Even though the assignment parameters have created an inherent difference between the Chinese and American self-portraits, there are other differences ... albeit, subtle ... that are seen/felt between the two. Perhaps there's a bit more sophistication in this subtle form for the American self-portraits with an inclination towards the representation of the photographic image rather than its blatant manipulation and added elements as seen within the Chinese self-portraits. Again, this blatant manipulation and added elements are most likely due to the assignment parameter of requiring the students to utilize layers, masks and filters for graphics skills improvement.

These added elements ... more detailing or 'storyboarding' [embellishment] ... within the Chinese self-portraits create busier images for the eye. The American self-portraits are relatively 'plain/simple' [unembellished] in their syle. Elevated ideals or conduct [emotionalism] run through the Chinese self-portraits ... a high mindedness and passion that are prevalent within Chinese youth who have the opportunity to attend college for a better future. The American self-portraits touch on the intellect and as it relates to the assignment parameter of working in a variety of approaches which were influenced by artists they found compelling [according to the instructor, George LaRou]."

Tom R. Chambers
Visiting Lecturer, Digital/New Media Art
Fine Arts Department
Zhaoqing University
Zhaoqing, China

Go to The Exploration of Self by Jeanne Ivy for more information about self-portraiture.