Suffolk University Gallery

Imagination on display

The Suffolk University Gallery is the Art & Design Department’s main exhibition space. Located on the sixth floor of the Sawyer Building, the gallery presents exciting exhibits and related programs that reflect our increasingly visual and image-driven world. The gallery aims to engage the whole Suffolk community while adding to larger conversations taking place in Greater Boston's cultural arena. Exhibits of student work from all departments, as well as themed curated exhibitions, provide an important link between and for students, faculty, and visitors.

Current Exhibit

Portraiture 1: Others, Mostly Painting

September 23 – October 31, 2021

Gathering and Gallery Talk, September 30, 5:30 pm

What is a portrait? Is it a construction?
How do we see each other? How do we see ourselves?
Who is looking at who?
How does the camera in its various forms influence perception?
How has this changed with social media?

The role of the artist is to point to things. When depicting someone the artist makes decisions about what story to tell. Portraits not only articulate something about the subject, but also how that subject wants to be depicted and how the artist wants to depict them. In addition, the viewer is invited to add to that conversation through projection—that is, the experience of the work also becomes about one’s identity. The work of this group of artists in Portraiture 1: Others, Mostly Painting gives us clues to who we are.

Art Design collage

Image credits

  • Top row, left: Colleen Kiely, Jordan, Oil, acrylic, and graphite on wood panel, 48x36”, 2020.
  • Top row, right: Catherine Kehoe, Anna, Oil on panel, 6x6”, 2006.
  • Middle row, left: Laura Chasman, Catherine, Gouache on paper, 12x11”, 2007.
  • Middle row, right: Daphne Confar, Margaret of the Dunes, Oil on panel with gold leaf edge, 6x6”, 2021.
  • Bottom row, left: Susan White Brown, Figure #11, Oil on canvas, 60x36”, 2018.
  • Bottom row, right: Keith Morris Washington, The Secret Life of Mister Vacuum Lungz, Oil on linen, 84x48”, 2018.

Participating Artists

Susan White Brown is a Boston-based painter whose work often has some connection to the human figure. Though relationships among the portrayed figures vary with grouping and placement, each observer’s perception of their presumed identities is unique.

Laura Chasman draws her subject matter from and finds inspiration in her daily life—the people and the situations that she encounters. Intrigued by the way her subjects look, feel, and express themselves, she aims to capture the physicality and the spirit of the subjects in her work.

Daphne Confar is a painter whose relationship with her family—especially her relationship with her grandmothers, who would spend time with her and tell stories of their lives—fed her imagination and gave her a love of people and a love of people's stories that informs her work to this day.

Catherine Kehoe was born in Hartford, Connecticut. She received her BFA in painting from Massachusetts College of Art and Design and her MFA in painting from the School of Visual Arts, Boston University. Kehoe teaches painting and drawing at Massachusetts College of Art and Design.

Colleen Kiely creates fictional portraits that synthesize imagination, found images, and a multitude of art historical sources to explore the fluidity of identity and time. Dressed in patterned clothing and set against a monochromatic field, the larger-than-life figures gaze at something, or someone, just outside the frame. Although each figure stands resolutely alone, collectively, they form a community.

The art of Keith Morris Washington investigates meaning and metaphor through landscape and portraiture. These landscapes and full-body portraits explore memory, identity, and social themes, that are latent and often obscured by visible features, cultural (mis)understanding, and time.

Related Information


Visitor Policy

Visitors who are not vaccinated are required to wear masks at all times while on campus.

Visitors will need to fill out a brief survey by scanning a QR code when entering the Sawyer building. They will need to check in at the Security Desk. Until further notice, face coverings will be required in highly trafficked, public areas of campus, including all classrooms, as well as in elevators and building lobbies. Face coverings must be worn in the Gallery. If you are fully vaccinated and in a space where you are able to maintain a reasonable amount of distance from others, and where there is no specific mask requirement, you can lower or take off your mask.

Gallery Hours

Weekdays 11 a.m. - 3 p.m., by appointment.
To make an appointment contact Deborah Davidson by email or at 617-816-1974

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Past Exhibits