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Duncan Rice Visitors Met With ‘Striking Impressions’

New Library Art Exhibit Explores Artistic Representations of Faces


By Clive Davies


By University of Aberdeen


A new art exhibition called ‘Striking Impressions’ has been unveiled at Duncan Rice Library. The installation explores how faces have been interpreted and depicted in various fields including anatomy and divination, as well as artforms such as caricature, sculpture, paintings, and masks.


Having opened on 14 February in the University of Aberdeen’s Sir Duncan Rice Library, visitors can enjoy highlights from the University’s art, museum and rare book collections, exploring how we read faces, how people through the centuries and across the world have depicted animal faces, powerful faces and ideas of beauty, and how faces can be mocked and distorted through cartoons and caricatures.


In addition to exploring the artistic portrayal of faces, ‘Striking Impressions’ aims to explore the psychological aspect of how people react to faces, including what factors tend to make a face appear trustworthy or not. Contemporary psychology research, including that which is conducted at Aberdeen, delves into how people make character judgements based on people’s faces. 


Such research is the foundation of parts of the exhibition, visitors will be confronted with the prospect that modern society is ‘face-ist’, and encouraged to draw their own conclusions. In addition, one piece will challenge visitors to differentiate real human faces from those generated by artificial intelligence.


The exhibition/creative space was organised by Revell and the University’s Museums & Special Collections team, with Dr Pierce, Senior Lecturer in Art History, and Dr Clare Sutherland, Senior Lecturer in Psychology.


Curator Dr Helen Pierce said: "I'm currently writing a book on the history of British political caricature, so being able to work with the University of Aberdeen's significant collection of satirical prints for this exhibition was both inspiring and entertaining. I hope visitors to ‘Striking Impressions’ feel the same."


Organisers are encouraging visitors to do more than just look, Curator Sam Revell said: “Throughout the exhibition we’re encouraging visitors to reflect and engage with the displays creatively. There’s even a creative space in the middle of the gallery where you can just sit and use the art supplies provided.  You can create a new caricature to add to our gallery wall; draw yourself, your friends, and the faces of your imagination; and see what other visitors have made in response to ‘Striking Impressions’.”


Students from the University of Aberdeen’s Art History Society will be running guided tours on Thursdays from 13:00 – 13:30 starting from March 6. Visitors can drop in on the day to join the tour, or contact uoacollections@abdn.ac.uk to book a space.


‘Striking Impressions’ will be open in the Sir Duncan Rice Library Mon-Fri 11:00-19:00, Sat & Sun 12:00-16:00. Entry is free with all welcome.




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