The self-portrait is a telling meter of the artist's inner world. Most of the paintings by Beverly McIver, on exhibit at the Betty Cuningham Gallery, are self-portraits. The faces are often tightly cropped and show introspection, sadness, happiness. The message is pure emotion and her expressions bare it all. In some portraits, Ms. McIver's palette for her skin is daring and liberal as she leaves bold streaks of color alongside natural looking skin tone hues. In a 2002 interview for Art in America she states, "As a child I dreamed of becoming a clown, to escape my black skin, poverty and the housing project I once called home. Clowning was my disguise, my liberation." As an adult she did indeed go to clown school. She also received a Masters of Fine Arts in Painting and Drawing from Pennsylvania State University. The other person depicted in her portraits is her older sister Renee. They have a complex relationship in that Renee is not able to care for herself. Once again, Ms. McIver conveys all of the feelings she has about this partnership through the expressions on her sister's face. Infants take many of their cues from observing facial expressions. This very primal connection is made again and again in Beverly McIver's work. Take the kids. Show runs till July 1st, 2011. Perfect for most. Betty Cuningham Gallery, 541 West 25th Street.