True Likeness


Aug 28 2023 - Nov 03 2023

A still from a stop motion video featuring a collage of a black man's mouth. The subject's nose, cheeks and mouth are covered in red pigment. Color test #6 is handwritten on the lower left quadrant of the image.
Kameron Neal, Color Test #6, 2019, Loop of stop-motion video

Portraits serve as expressions of identity, popular taste, social standing, and as documents of who, when, and where. Representing one’s self in the best light or seeing others in understandable terms are motives behind why we record images of each other, whether for rituals, documentation of events, art making, or as expressions of status.

True Likeness features contemporary portraits from diverse makers in various media, including video, photography, painting, collage, installation, sculpture, printmaking, and drawing. Artists’ identities and those presented through their works provide a snapshot of who we are as a country.

Artists include Endia Beal, Antonius-Tín Bui, Sam Doyle, Amir H. Fallah, LaToya Ruby Frazier, Juan R. Fuentes, Raymond Grubb, Holly Keogh, Deborah Luster, Gene Merritt, Dan Robert Miller, John Monteith, Kameron Neal, Wendy Red Star, Chris Sullivan, Bill Thelen, Mickalene Thomas, and vernacular photography from the collection of John and Teenuh Foster. Learn more about the artists in this exhibition.


Artists Talks & Workshops

Free & open to the public.

Attend in person

Monday, October 16, 2023, 6:30 pm; Art & DesignRoom 165  – Keynote presentation by Artist Endia Beal.

Attend via Zoom 

Meeting ID: 936 6630 9239
Passcode: 990496

Endia Beal’s keynote provides a brief retrospective of her work, including Office Scene, Can I Touch It?9 to 5, and Am I What You’re Looking For? and more. Beal’s works examine the personal and contemporary stories of women of color working in the corporate space while addressing the importance of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion.


Wednesday, October 18, 2023, 3 pm – Endia Beal’s Artistic Introspective Workshop

Beal’s workshop offers an innovative, engaging, and relatable approach to Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DE&I) training. Her two-hour sessions are designed around the fundamental idea that diversity enhances creativity and leads to unfettered discoveries. Beal’s workshops use art to encourage introspection of our personal beliefs, attitudes, and behaviors. We are all at different stages of our diversity maturity. Art helps elicit responses in an engaging and non-threatening way, sometimes exposing latent and unconscious biases and preferences. The sessions are designed to expand our personal and cultural boundaries, helping us to view each new encounter from and with a different perspective. Beal provides a safe place within which to take risks, be vulnerable, and learn the importance of expressing empathy and advocacy for those within the organization.

Prerequisite: Participants must also attend Beal’s keynote to participate.

Registration required; Capacity: 35 participants; Workshop spaces are available on a first-come, first-serve basis.

Link to register:




Thursday, October 26, 11 am – 1 pm – BINGO! A Collaborative Drawing Workshop

Artist Bill Thelen will lead BINGO!, a collaborative drawing workshop utilizing bingo markers as the drawing media. Thelen will guide participants with a series of prompts. The workshop will culminate in a collaborative art installation.

No experience is required to participate.
Supplies will be provided.
The workshop is free and open to the public.


Thursday, October 26, 6 pm  – Join us for an artist talk with Bill Thelen.


Link to register:




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Thank you to the Michigan Arts & Culture Council for your generous support of these events!

Select Exhibition Images


Image of Wendy Red Star and her daughter Beatrice wearing traditional elk tooth dresses, shawls, turquoise and beaded jewelry and bags, and leather moccasins.
Wendy Red Star, Apsáalooke Feminist #1, 2016, Pigment print



Black and white self portrait of the artist LaToya Ruby Frazier in front of a striped fabric background.
LaToya Ruby Frazier, Self Portrait (March 10 am), 2009, Gelatin silver photograph



Still image from the video Mock Interview by artist Endia Beal. Image depicts a white male in suit at a table in an office setting.
Endia Beal, Mock Interview (Still), 2019, Video with sound



Antique black and white photo of a person with orange and yellow paint obscuring the head.
Amir H. Fallah, Ancestors 1, 2015, C-print, acrylic, and dried oil paint skins



An installation primarily composed of individual, washy, gestural watercolor drawings.
Bill Thelen, maximum joy, 2020, Watercolor on paper, ceramics, T-shirt, oil on canvas, incense, ephemera


True Likeness is a traveling exhibition curated by Tom Stanley and Lia Newman for Van Every/Smith Galleries at Davidson College.