Distortions, organized by Carl D’Alvia, presents sixteen artists who distort the human figure to convey the pathos, humor, and monstrousness of being alive. The word distortion can be traced to the Latin verb distorquere, which means to twist, torment, or torture. Anything can be distorted: facts can be twisted until they no longer represent the truth, and images and objects can be warped by artists to reflect the human experience. Since the earliest “Venus” figurines of the Paleolithic period, we have been anthropomorphizing the world around us and manipulating materials in order to express something about ourselves.

The varying positions presented here range from the clever and playful (Jonathan Baldock, Genesis Belanger, Carl D’Alvia, and H.C. Westermann) to the iconoclastic (Rachelle Dang, Isa Genzken, Caroline Wells Chandler, and Chloe Wise) to the fantastic (David Altmejd, Raúl de Nieves, Bonnie Collura, Ryan Johnson, and Sarah Peters), to the uncompromisingly subjective (Robert Arneson, Elizabeth Catlett, Sally Saul).

Driven by an insistence on technique and a search for original and uncanny figurative interpretations, Distortions is a grouping that proves how off beat takes on figuration are fundamental to contemporary art-making.