Strathmore Fine Art Presents SKIN – Exhibition explores body modification through tattoo arts, temporary applications, hair and makeup
With Skin, Strathmore showcases six artists’ “body of work,” exploring the transformative properties, cultural significance and artistry of body modification through tattoo, henna, bodypainting, hair and makeup. The exhibition features one of the world’s foremost tattoo artists, Alex Reinke, with fellow ink authorities Robby Latos and Paul Roe, as well as body painter Craig Tracy, photographers John Borstel and Glenford Nunez, and henna artist Bhavna Naik from Saturday, September 15 through Saturday, November 3, 2012. An opening reception with nosh and henna art stations will be held on Thursday, September 20, 2012 from 7-9 p.m. For more information, call (301) 581-5100 or visit www.strathmore.org.
Bisecting one of the Mansion’s rooms with a tattoo chair,P aul Roe of H Street’s British ink recreates a modern tattoo parlor on one half of the room and a tattoo parlor from 100 years ago on the other, illustrating the evolution of the art form and its application. The installation will include modern tools that Roe built himself, a common practice among tattoo artists, as well as antique tools, traditional inks and flash (template tattoo designs often displayed in the reception area of a tattoo shop). He’ll also catalogue his specific artistic process and conceptualization with a series of five drawn process works ending with a picture of a finished, large-scale tattoo of a peacock wrapping around a woman’s back. Juxtaposed with Roe, a classically-trained tattoo artist, is Robby Latos of The Damascus Tattoo Company, who started as a fine artist and painter before embarking on his career in ink. Latos’ technique illuminates different approaches to tattoo art—with a classically trained “artist’s eye,” he takes into account shading, color and depth of perspective, even working without a stencil, to imbue his work with a painterly quality. Six of Latos’ works will be on view, including a large tatted tableau of Albert Einstein that the artist did on himself. In addition, a video installation will feature an interview conducted by Strathmore’s curatorial team with preeminent tattoo artist Alex Reinke, an absolute purist trained in the style of Japanese irezumiby world renowned tattoo master Horiyoshi III. The video reveals Reinke’s design philosophy, the history of tattoo arts and, specifically, one of its oldest styles, irezumi—its application, the meaning of different symbols and colors, the aesthetic qualities of the art form and the assignment of a season to the wearer’s body that ultimately influences the overall design motif.
The second floor’s Gudelsky Gallery Suite will explore temporary body modification. “Putting on his face” for Skin with stirring results, John Borstel plays with the concept of makeup as art/art as makeup in a series of photographsarranged in triptychs, grids and other multiples, the installation queries the use of cosmetics for enhancement, social definition, deception, self-deception and fantasy. Makeup begins with a model’s typical application of lipstick, however each successive image becomes more uncontrolled, nonconformist and disturbing, with the lipstick smudging and streaking unconstrained all over her face. Craig Tracy uses the body as a canvas for his fine art bodypainting, transforming a human form so that it virtually disappears into his work. Five photographs of the internationally renowned cult artist’s work will be on view, including “Speed” depicting a sprinting cheetah (painted horizontally on an elongated torso), and “Magic” in which a model’s face is covered in abstract applications of paint. Baltimore artist Glenford Nunez shares selections from The Coiffure Project. Nunez started the project as a showcase, a collection of portraits celebrating the beauty of black women and their natural hair. His strikingly large photographs showcase his subject matter in artful ways, highlighting the details and sculptural quality of hair. His work is symbolic of a trend or bodily aesthetic giving way to a renewed appreciation of a more natural form, and parallels the resurging popularity of African-American women “going natural” with their hair. Henna artist Bhavna Naik’s intricate ceremonial and bridal henna designs further illustrate the significance of body art to different global cultures—displaying photographs of her work, as well as leaves, oils and other materials used in producing henna paste.
Strathmore will enhance the visitor experience of Skin with public education programs. Kids ages 7-11 will learn the meaning of traditional henna designs and its origins as they paint their hands and feet with beautiful symbols and designs and tour Strathmore’s Skin exhibition in Go Crazy With Henna! on Sunday, October 7 from 9:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. Girls’ Night Out gets a Skin twist with wine, snacks and a special design workshop concluding with henna painting for hands and feet in an An Evening of Art, Henna and Wine on Thursday, October 25, 2012 from 7-10 p.m. Paul Roe of British Ink on H Street leads a symposium on the art of the tattoo – from its beginnings in ancient Egypt and the rise of subversive tattoo cultures to its present day acceptance as a mainstream art form during Unified Elements of Tattooingon Saturday, October 27, 2012 from 2-4 p.m. In the Friday night art party Night at the Mansion: Printmaking & Henna on Saturday, October 27, 2012 from 7-10 p.m. kids ages 11-14 will enjoy workshops in printmaking, temporary henna tattoos, snacks, stories and a scavenger hunt with fun and games inspired by the Skin exhibition.
On Saturday, September 22, 2012 at 10:15 a.m., a Children’s Talk & Tour invites children to explore the exhibition and exercise their creativity through a hands-on arts activity. At the 1 p.m. Art Talk & Tour, adults learn about the artwork in the exhibitions from exhibition curator Harriet Lesser. Both events are free. Reservations are required for the Children’s Talk & Tour and can be made by calling (301) 581-5109.