The North Carolina Museum of Art

Reflections: Portraits by Beverly McIver

Beverly McIver, Reminiscing, 2005, oil on canvas, left and right panels: 24 x 30 in.; center panel: 24 x 24 in., Purchased with funds from the William R. Roberson Jr. and Frances M. Roberson Endowed Fund for North Carolina Art, © 2011 Beverly McIver

December 11, 2011–June 24, 2012

North Carolina Gallery

Reflections: Portraits by Beverly McIver celebrates the last decade of Beverly McIver’s work. McIver, a native of North Carolina, is renowned for her expression-filled, emotive canvases that commemorate her life and the lives of those closest to her—in particular, her mother, Ethel, who passed away in 2004, and her sister, Renee, who is mentally disabled. The exhibition highlights these two subjects in McIver’s work, focusing solely on her self-portraits and on portraits of Renee and other family members. “All of my portraits are self-portraits,” says the artist. “I use the faces of others who reflect my most inner being.”

McIver is widely acknowledged as a significant presence in contemporary American art, examining racial, gender, and social identities through the lens of her own experiences as an African American female artist. The history of her family, particularly the struggles surrounding her sister’s disability and her mother’s death, allows McIver to contemplate and illustrate the complicated emotions that arise from these situations, such as depression, frustration, tender compassion, and innocent joy.

Accompanied by an exhibition catalogue, Reflections includes numerous loans from the artist, private collections, and select museums, as well as a three-paneled painting in the NCMA’s permanent collection. A special exhibition program will feature a screening of the new documentary film Raising Renee, produced and directed by Academy Award nominees Jeanne Jordan and Steven Ascher. Raising Renee tells the story of McIver’s commitment to her sister Renee, delving deeply into McIver’s role as Renee’s caregiver and examining the universal themes of love, family, and the power of art to transform everyday events into a transcendent experience.

Reflections is the latest in a series of exhibitions dedicated to the art and artists of North Carolina. As part of the NCMA’s ongoing commitment to the citizens of our state, the North Carolina Gallery exhibits the work of emerging and established North Carolina artists. Solo and thematic exhibitions rotate twice a year and draw from loans and the Museum’s permanent collection.

Organized by the North Carolina Museum of Art. This exhibition is made possible, in part, by the North Carolina Department of Cultural Resources; the North Carolina Museum of Art Foundation, Inc.; and the William R. Kenan Jr. Endowment for Educational Exhibitions.