February 17, 2011
Richmond Center for Visual Arts, room 2008
In conjunction with the exhibition More Than Skin Deep: Portraits as Socio-Political Commentary.
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, and that our identities are in a state of constant re-definition. Similarly, contemporary art has also become more heterogeneous and disconnected, as major themes in art are less evident. While the origins of portraiture might be quite simple, even romantic, contemporary identity, contemporary art, and therefore contemporary portraiture are decidedly more complex. As a result, two of the most basic questions, "Who are we?" and "How do we relate?" share the same concern: they both 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 end results.
Susan Moore's paintings largely focus on the ways humans strive for individuality through body art and other beauty marks. Her Second Skin series portray a variety of people and their body art.
Edith Newhall of the Philadelphia Inquirer wrote; "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." Moore's subjects have exposed their extreme physical expressions that on a daily basis are usually covered and out of eyesight. Exposed we learn more about each subject, but our introduction to the subjects are not realized. The fact that the viewer becomes a voyeur puts us as audience in an uncomfortable, and somewhat frightening place.