The human face is the primary site of the visual arts, both because it is the most common subject and because it symbolises the sensory and cognitive mechanisms through which artistic meaning is created: seeing and being seen, interpreting information, communicating what is understood.

A year ago, at Stevenson Gallery Cape Town, an exhibition of portraiture titled About Face explored “the tension between seeing and being seen” in the work of 20 artists. Curator Lerato Bereng has both extended this concept and narrowed its focus in the twin exhibitions at Stevenson’s Johannesburg space in Parktown North (until January 24).

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