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June 10 - July 11, 1998
123 Watts is pleased to present Skin Deep, an exhibition of new works by a group of seven artists: Mark Sheinkman, Joy Episalla, Michael Brennan, Marti Cormand, Carrie Yamaoka, Richard Tsao, and Rebecca Guberman. Beauty is only skin deep. Indeed, surface sells and narcissism rules. In our culture beautiful skin has become a metaphor for virtue; beautiful body, a metaphor for intelligence. We worship beauty, youth surfaces. Skin as surface and entry point to the object is explored in this exhibition. Does a fixation on surface quality negate the possibility for depth? The rich seductive surfaces found in the varied works in this group show challenge the notion that value lies only on the surface, and invites the viewer to discover the meaning and beauty within the art object.
Engaging the viewer first through deluxe surface treatments and then drawing one in to deeper levels, each artist has developed their own highly personal vocabulary employing both traditional and new materials in quirky ways. Using eraser marks as positive space, Sheinkman defines his own graphite fields. Yamaoka's high gloss mylar pieces make the viewer and environment become the work. Cormand makes paintings which draw you into their soft, fleshy skin. Veiled shimmering space shifts across the contained realm of the marking band as Brennan paints concrete space wedded with uncertainty.
Photo-based images combined with medical notes of attending doctors offer a seductive window to Guberman's HIV infected blood. Working with countless layers of paint accumulated over a period of years, Tsao's works are a metaphor for skin, with its many layers of old and new cells present simultaneously. Floating in waves on a latex support, Episalla's dress seems to be tattooed into its skin like support. The varied works of Skin deep draw you in and challenge you to read them, to penetrate their surfaces and get beneath their skins.