by Valerie Valentine
Spring is the perfect time for a salute to skin. We get to put away the down coats and the wool sweaters, and start pulling out tank tops and sundresses. In spring, skin comes alive. Ducks and squirrels start getting busy, and minds
of humans inevitably turn to the same sensations. Artamotive’s latest show gives us bare bodies to enjoy in this time of nature’s rebirth and lust’s renewal. 10 artists in oils, watercolors, charcoal, mixed media, acrylics and sculpture present a range of physical forms.
time have romanticized the female body. This show is testament to that aesthetic;
the graceful curves of hip and breast, smooth shoulder and luscious thigh all
ooze sensuality off the walls. Watercolors by John Fleming showcase the shadows
cast by woman’s bodies in impeccable purple hues. Gallery owner and curator
Betsey Giles told me that Fleming does his composition with live sittings. Anyone
who has used watercolors knows it’s a tricky medium to manipulate, and
with a lovely nude model posing, the work would require some serious unflappability.
A few artists have moved beyond the figural realism typical
of drawing studios to challenge themselves and the viewer with layers of discovery.
Susan Davies uses pieces of newsprint to add texture and text beneath her paintings.
The words help frame the work. “In the Coming Years” shows a faceless,
firmly fleshed body in rich oranges and golds. From far away, the paper chunks
look like blemishes or wrinkles. Textual bits scattered throughout denote a
slow degeneration, as the years play out their wear and tear on the body.
Copham delves deeply into self-representation as defined by the corporeal. Abstracted
notions of the body’s physical dimensions juxtapose external realities.
Copham’s effort points out that our self-impression is often quite different
than the rest of the world’s impression. In her painting “It’s
Not Easy Being,” the artist expresses deep vulnerability through exhibitionism.
In this self-portrait, the prone, nude body is cut up and fragmented with separating
sections of earthy matter, worms and water or sky. Human bodies are part of
the larger natural order, and this painting physically combines the body with
the earth to which it shall return.
Kenneth Wenzel’s hairless figures offer a peek at the
nude male form, but overall this show features females. Artamotive also houses
a vast array of works by dozens of local artists, such as dolls, jewelry, fashions,
furniture, and more. Enjoy the free skin show while you may, since it’s
a limited-time-only commodity in Minnesota.
Naked Woman, Naked Man is currently open and runs through
June 27. There will be a reception this week, Fri. Apr. 16, 6–10 p.m.
Artamotive, 208 13th Ave. NE, Mpls. 612-706-0840.