In a new series of life-size drawings, the Baltimore-based artist Zoë Charlton uses the concept of the doppelgänger, or body double, to examine issues of in/visibility in contemporary society. Charlton’s process began by publishing a call for models in regional newspapers and on social media, soliciting people similar to her in size but from a diverse cross-section of communities in Omaha, San Antonio, and Baltimore. In her drawings, “the sitter, or subject, becomes a catalyst for imagining, becoming, or understanding another person’s perspective,” says Charlton. “At its core, this project is about empathy and finding reflections of oneself in others while blurring the boundaries and expectations of the self-portrait.”
The Ipseity Project will be on view in the Wanda D. Ewing Gallery Friday, September 7 through Saturday, October 27.
Wanda D. Ewing Commission
Charlton is the recipient of the second annual Wanda D. Ewing Commission, which supports the production and presentation of new work by a woman artist of the African diaspora. Wanda Denise Ewing (1970–2013), the Omaha artist for whom The Union's gallery and commission are named, was influenced by folk-art aesthetics, craft traditions, and the limited depictions of Black women in Western art history and popular culture. Through her art, she celebrated Black bodies and explored the complex interplay of race, gender, and sexuality. The commission was established to carry forth Ewing’s legacy and to create a vital cultural opportunity for Greater Omaha, where narratives of Black female experience are too often absent from the arts discourse.