Sunday, May 20, 2012

Skin: The seduction of surface....

I was invited here Friday night to the opening of an exhibition called Skin: the seduction of surface. It started May 19 and will run until September 9th. We were greeted outside by the succulent aroma of pulled pork. Sensuous food served up by a snazzy chef. Lookin good:)
This was a fascinating exhibit curated by Sarah Fillmore exploring place, race, religion, identity and sexuality through physical and conceptual ideas of skin in many forms. She gathered together works by Canadian and International artists whose art entertains notions of skin in wide ranging mediums and perspectives.
The exhibit is about  layers, ways we protect ourselves, ways we are exposed and ways we express ourselves. Seduction and it's opposite, revulsion. Covering and uncovering.
The artists include Jana Sterbak,Colleen Wolstenholme, Attila Richard Lukacs, Mitch Mitchell, Duke & Battersby, Till Friewals, Shary Boyle, Evergon, Vito Acconci, Kent Monkman, among others.
It was a thought provoking and unusual exhibit. Some pieces I really really liked and others left me baffled and then there were those that left me cold.
This piece below was one that really intrigued me. These dogs were made from fabric and swathed in veils and fur stoles.The workmanship was so detailed and beautiful. Unfortunately, I did not get the name of the artist responsible for this work so you will have to refer to the list of names above.
This one by david R Harper was called Stewed, Screwed and Tattooed. Goat skins with embroidery. Pretty but disturbing to me also.
There were a few larger paintings that I quite liked.
The most provoking item in the exhibit is the "Vanitas" by Jana Sterbak. Raw meat sewn together into a dress and hung in an elegant gallery setting. Created from 50 pounds of flank steak, this heavily salted meat will decompose, cure and dry out over the length of the exhibit. 
Looking at this dress provokes many thoughts, parallels, fascination and revulsion. Themes of consumption, appetite, sexuality, vulnerability, transience...... Lady Gaga's famous dress was inspired by this one.
I loved this wonderful bear covered in red felt roses.
It was an interesting exhibit and if you are in Halifax, pop into the gallery and take a peek at this latest show. I only scratched the surface here.... 


leendadll said...

The dress makes me think of wearing the flesh vs wearing what's under it.

I like the large painting you posted.

Debra She Who Seeks said...

The famous meat dress! I remember the incredible controversy when this was first staged at the National Gallery of Canada so many, many years ago. How wonderful that it's been resuscitated, so to speak.