Self and Others

Opening Saturday: A portrait is always a likeness of someone. Beyond that, the mystery and the questions set in. Does it portray the subject’s appearance, or aspirations, or some inner turmoil? Does it flatter, comfort or denigrate? Is it true to life now? Or to some other time in the past or future? Does it say more about the artist’s skill or the subject’s soul? Writer Gertrude Stein is said to have complained that she didn’t look like her portrait by Picasso. “You will,” he is said to have replied. The four Minnesota linked artists whose paintings are featured in “Self and Others” scrutinize their subjects closely, to varied effect. Nancy Robinson stars in her own psychodramas of love, loss, disdain and irony. Frank and Pamela Gaard turn out colorful dueling portrait heads of friends and family, his boldly cartoonish and sometimes bawdy, hers gentler and more charming. Stuart Mead demands a response from the sitter, and then turns it into paint. Meet Frank Gaard’s “Char,” shown here, and friends on the Mall. (6-8 p.m. Sat., free opening reception, Instinct Art Gallery, 940 Nicollet Mall, Mpls., ends Sept. 6, free, 612-208-0696 or