Contemporary Portraits from the Simay Collection

contemporary portraits from the simay collection

august 21–december 5, 2021

Contemporary Portraits from the Simay Collection installed at OMA

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Appreciating art from the viewer’s perspective entails trying to understand what the artist had in mind in their creation and what responses the viewer develops when looking at the work. Looking at a portrait of a person who we know recalls our relationship to the subject, while looking at a portrait of a person we do not know causes us to reflect on issues of identity, social class, and political intent. In the image laden internet-age we are faced with images of self and the “other” constantly. In our increasingly polarized world we seek understanding of the “other”. There are three viewpoints in the static image of a portrait that make for a complex and loaded viewing experience–the qualities of the sitter or subject, the focus of the artist, and the response of the viewer. Taken in summation one can experience some of the breadth of being human.

This exhibition of portraits drawn from the Doug Simay collection represents many styles and many viewpoints, highlighting what the collecting experience can deliver. What is collected and how it relates to other objects in the collection is a substantive way of interpreting history, adding a level of personal involvement and contribution. Viewers will hopefully be encouraged to become themselves active art world participants–engaging with artists and collecting their works.



Many thanks to the exhibition Title Sponsors Ving and Valya Simpson.




Exhibition Celebration, Saturday, September 18, 2021


Header artwork: Landscape with Two Heads by Alexia Markarian


If you would like to learn more about the artwork please email

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