Many of the portraits provide unusual views of famous faces, Fortune says. Celebrities these days are constantly photographed and have become expert image managers. That makes unguarded moments, such as the faraway look that painter Colin Davidson captures in Brad Pitt’s eyes, even more gripping, she says.
Across the hall, there’s a very different painting: an over-the-top portrait of Katy Perry that emphasizes the gulf between the viewer and the pop star. Painter Will Cotton depicts her wearing an oversized cupcake wrapper and crowned in lollypops. Her serious, level stare suggests that she knows she’s being viewed and is in control of her own image — and that construction may shield her true self from public scrutiny.
“Do we really know Katy Perry? I don’t think we do,” Fortune says.
Fortune hopes that visitors come away from the show with the realization that every portrait is a work of fiction, a creation that’s the joint work of the artist, the subject and the viewer. That goes double for the flattering photos we post on Facebook.
“Maybe after seeing this exhibit,” she says, “you’ll have new insight into your selfies.”
“Eye Pop: The Celebrity Gaze,” opens Friday.