As the bitter cold winter gives way to the gentler blossoming air of spring, there will be the shedding of outer layers then exposing some skin. Baring their best efforts, three artists explored through various disciplines and material about their unique take on skin. Borderline: Depictions of Skin scratched the surface as three women artists bared all at recently opened Bowery space, Garis & Hahn.
AF attended the opening reception last March 28th and entered the gallery to be captivated by each of the artist’s rendition of the theme where being comfortable takes a backseat as thought provoking and closer examination took precedence. It is meant for one to breathe close, touch with every sense and expand one’s idea of what separates the inside from the outer layer.
Gwen Hardie presented her diaphanous spheres of an outer film that also reveals what’s underneath. Her oil painting lends itself perfectly as a blurred or refracted surface like light dappling a beautiful landscape. It is like a veil waiting to be torn so you can see what’s behind the gossamer layer. The softness that is inherent and the tendency to violate or penetrate the barrier is a dynamic force that draws you into the oeuvre of this artist. Cynthia Lin went for the large scale drawings of charcoal and graphite which dominated and gave you the under the microscope feel that transforms scars or scabs into bold landscapes. It is at once powerful because of the dimension but the stark depiction also lends itself the strength you derive from it. It is said some people wear scars like badges of pride then Lin came forth confidently with these drawings where what can be considered a blight becomes an object of sheer beauty. Diana Schmertz painted a column of hands, body parts focused in miniscule dots, and the skin being the gateway for human thought or behavior. Perception is contingent upon rules of engagement or experience which the artist tries to reconfigure with her artworks. At the bottom level of the gallery where Schmertz had an entire installation on the walls with dot matrixes of human body detail evoking a pattern and also breaking through the second dimension as orbs or marbles containing the same images seemingly pop off the wall which added a playful element while you immerse yourself in the space.
The trio inhabited their own skin and boldly bared their thoughts in their work. They are comfortable in it which makes you consider if you are comfortable in yours. Might as well embrace the bumps, scars, warts and every inch of who you are or the skin you’re in. After all, you gotta work with what the good Lord gave you. Now gimme some skin!
Borderline: Depictions of Skin / On View: March 29 – April 27, 2013
Gallery Hours: Tuesday to Saturday (11 am – 7 pm)
Garis & Hahn. 263 Bowery. NYC, NY 10002
art review by: Oscar A. Laluyan
art images from Garis & Hahn courtesy of the artists
event photography by: Olya Turcihin