This month, Sacramento-area artists were invited to do portraits of their contemporaries for the third incarnation of If You Do Me, I’ll Do You. This group portrait exhibition happens once every six years and this year is held in WAL Public Market on the expanding R Street corridor. Each artist was asked to pick a name at random and began the incredibly personal task of capturing their chosen artist’s likeness.
Doug Biggert’s photograph of Melissa Arendt takes a candid, slice-of-life stance. Arendt’s image is shown twice—once in the extreme foreground and again in a window reflection next to Biggert himself. The open nature of the work makes the viewer feel as though they may be a passerby or possibly the one taking the image. In the distance, a Sasquatch-like figure is moving through an open parking lot, looking as though he was caught in the crossfire. The playful and humorous catch is a nod to one of Biggert’s major influences, French photographer Elliott Erwitt.
One of the more non-traditionally made portraits was “Natalie Head” by former Milk Gallery owner Amy Greer. Thickly wrapped yarn was looped through rungs, giving the essence of the classic camp craft, God’s Eye, with a more detailed touch. The colors in this piece were soothing and seemingly complemented the re-purposed/vintage theme of the WAL Public Market stores.
Jeff Mayry’s work typically ranges from large-scale, thickly brushed unfamiliar terrains to mono-color sassy micro works. His image of Sarah Marie Hawkins has quick, fluid movements moving diagonally through the panel, unveiling a face. Mayry’s aggressive brush strokes and sharp angles speak to his masculinity while the soft pallet allows the subject’s femininity to peer through.
The If You Do Me, I’ll Do You exhibit is up through Sept. 10. The market place is open daily and free to the public at 1108 R Street in Sacramento. All pieces are for sale and there is no better way to promote the arts in Sacramento than to buy work by local artists.
Words by Emily Swinsick. Photos by Sarah Elliott.