The Representational Art Conference 2014 will feature demonstrations, discussions and presentations on topics ranging from the healing power of portrait sitting to self-portraits in the age of Facebook.

About 300 artists, critics, academics, collectors and curators will converge on the Crowne Plaza Ventura Beach from March 2 through March 5 for the second international conference on representational art presented by California Lutheran University.

Presentations, panel discussions and studio art demonstrations will explore the direction of 21st-century representational art, which portrays recognizable people, places and objects.

Artist Alisyn Blake with Studio Incamminati in Philadelphia and a psychologist will discuss efforts to paint portraits of children with craniofacial conditions to help them and others see the children in a different light. Katherine Zoraster, who teaches art history at local colleges, will present a paper called “Selfies: The Self-Portrait in the Age of Facebook.” Some of the many other presentations will focus on Chinese, Russian, Judaic and Middle Eastern art.

Distinguished philosopher Roger Scruton will be one of two keynote speakers. He explored what makes an object beautiful in his 2009 book Beauty and caused a stir with his BBC Two documentary Why Beauty Matters when it was released the same year. Scruton insists that beauty is a real and universal value with an indispensable role to play.

Juliette Aristides, a painter and writer dedicated to rebuilding traditional arts education in the United States, will deliver the other keynote address. The author and painter is the founder of the Aristides Atelier at the Gage Academy of Fine Art in Seattle. She teaches workshops throughout the world.

Odd Nerdrum, a Norwegian who is regarded by many as one of the greatest living representational painters, will discuss beauty, art and kitsch with Scruton. Nerdrum has written about why representational painting should be called kitsch rather than art because of the way it tugs at the heart and emotionally engages people.

Virgil Elliott, Pam Hawkes, Jeremy Lipking, Graydon Parrish, Stephen Perkins, Tony Pro and Alexey Steele will present demonstrations.

TRAC will include an excursion to CLU’s Thousand Oaks campus to see the “Women by Women” exhibit in the Kwan Fong Gallery of Art and Culture and the “Resonating Images III” show in the William Rolland Gallery of Fine Art.

CLU faculty members Michael Pearce and Michael Lynn Adams organized the first conference in 2012 to address the lack of critical appreciation of representational art and explore the new directions it might take.

Click here for registration and more information.

— Karin Grennan is the media relations manager for California Lutheran University.