New year opens with 'More Than Skin Deep' exhibit
Dec. 13, 2010
KALAMAZOO--The art exhibition "More Than Skin Deep: Portraits as Socio-Cultural-Political Commentary" will open Thursday, Jan. 13, at Western Michigan University. The exhibit will be on display in the Monroe-Brown Gallery at the University's Richmond Center for Visual Arts through Feb. 18.
The portrait is art's attempt to account for identity, to make sense of what it means to be an individual. It is in the experiences of contemporary life that personal identities have become fractured, complex and splintered--in a state of constant redefinition. Contemporary art has also become more heterogeneous and disconnected, as major themes in art are less evident. While the origins of portraiture are quite simple, contemporary identity, contemporary art and, therefore, contemporary portraits are more complex. As a result, two of the most basic questions, "Who are we?" and "How do we relate?" struggle with the challenges of predispositions.
"More Than Skin Deep" is an exhibition of three artists--Ray DiCapua, Nancy Froehlich and Susan Moore--who have each negotiated the intersection of these two questions with dramatic and thoughtful results.
The subject matter in Ray DiCapua's work stems from a vision of human potential, social justice, and political and civic responsibility. Another strong influence is his interest in the story of the constructed image of self and others, and how the unconscious patterned identity of this construct creates and recreates our world. Images, including the likes of President Barack Obama and Dick Chaney, have been composed in a way that brings the viewer up close to the subjects, with surfaces, poses, and facial details composed to reflect how these international figures are assessed in our media-saturated environment.
In her "Gender Series," Nancy Froehlich takes a look at transgender issues and the private and public display of transvestites she befriended while living in Baltimore.
"In my photography work I challenge the notion of gender as static and question the limiting binary choice of male or female," Froehlich says. "It is in this series that I found what I had set out to achieve: images that cross the line between male and female. With these images, a shade of gray between male and female, I explore the notion of gender as fluid and transformative, not static, and ask the viewer to question their own assumptions when it comes to issues of gender."
Susan Moore's paintings focus on the ways humans strive for individuality through body art and other beauty marks. In her "Second Skin" series, Moore's subjects have exposed extreme physical expressions that, on a daily basis, are usually covered and out of eyesight. The viewer becomes a voyeur, putting the audience in an uncomfortable and somewhat frightening place.
Edith Newhall of the Philadelphia Inquirer wrote of Moore: "Her subjects have a cadaverous pallor and stillness heightened by the fact that she has left several inches of blank canvas around their bodies so that their extremities appear to fade, ghostlike, into the neutral background."
For more information, contact the Frostic School of Art Exhibitions Office at (269) 387-2455. Parking is available in the Miller Parking Ramp, adjacent to the Richmond Center.
Media contact: Don Desmett, (269) 387-2455, firstname.lastname@example.org