Same-Sex Portraiture: Art for Equal Rights

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Katherine Meredith, a professional portrait painter from Baltimore, recently raised over $15,000 on Kickstarter.com in support of her ambitious series entitled Partners, in which she uses classical portraiture technique (think of strikingly realistic family portraits you’ve seen in the fanciest drawing rooms) to depict same-sex couples.

Two years ago, Meredith was horrified when her Catholic high school refused to post in the alumni newsletter a birth announcement from a lesbian alum and her partner–she vowed to find a way to speak out for gay rights, and expressly gay marriage, through her artwork. Thus, Partners was born. (Because the gay and lesbian community has been locked out of portraiture’s rather straight-laced realm almost without exception, the tradition in which Meredith was trained, so refreshing portraiture of same-sex couples seemed the ideal way to send an essential message.)

“My portraits present proud, loving gay couples with no judgment, otherness, or exoticism,” Meredith says, in the short video attached to her Kickstarter campaign homepage. “A portrait is both a private study of intimate life and public statement of who you are; I believe who you love is who you are.”

Meredith worked professionally in New York and Los Angeles for many years–she now lives in Cockeysville with her husband and two young children.

“As a straight woman, I enjoy all the rights and benefits of marriage, and I think gay men and lesbian women should have the same rights that I do,” Meredith explains on film. “I’m hoping this exhibition will increase awareness even more and be another way to help move the needle toward equality.”

Work from the series is currently on display at Galerie die Botschaft at 1628 Bolton Street. Meredith has completed 10 portraits and plans to do about 10 more in the coming year; from there, she aims to take Partners, and its compassionate message, around the country. Visit Kickstarter to donate and learn more.

Same-sex couples interested in having a portrait painted by Meredith, as part of the series, may contact her at [email protected]



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