arwe art

THROUGH THE SECOND SKIN

 Ongoing series started 2017

“Through The Second Skin” takes the cocoon that we create around us to protect ourselves from the increasingly chaotic world and makes it tangible. Nude models wrap themselves in fabrics of varying opacity and contort themselves to create dramatic forms with the material that at times reads as pure amorphous energy and others as intimately human. Sometimes we can only see glimpses of a figure as one of their body parts stretches against the fabric, while others the material is so translucent we can see the emotions in their eyes. As a series, it is a depiction of the journey one takes to break free from that self-imposed solitary confinement to join the world again.

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As the world becomes more and more chaotic around us, we retreat further and further into ourselves. A high speed, stressful life is what’s expected of us, and at times we withdraw from the world as a means of protection. We create a cocoon around our emotions as they grow ever more fragile. Even when we’re passing through the world, our shields are up, separating us from the people around us. In “Through The Second Skin,” this barrier becomes tangible. The models are nude, more exposed than ever, but by being provided with a fabric with which to wrap themselves up in, they can feel free and safe to be truly themselves. There is a dancer’s quality to the poses they strike, limbs reaching and backs arching to create dramatic forms with the fabric that at times read as pure amorphous energy and others as intimately human. Attention is carefully paid to the beauty of the fluidity of the fabrics and the ways it can wrap around the form, inspired by the installations of Christo.

The fabric varies in opacity from model to model. Sometimes we can only see glimpses of a figure beneath, a nose or an elbow or what may be a knee stretching the material around it. For others, we can see the silhouette and just make out the person’s identity. We can see whether they are male or female, we can gather what their features look like just enough to feel as if we may know them. Then there are the models draped in the most translucent fabrics where you can see the emotion in their eyes, the ones that appear to be triumphantly breaking free from their barriers at any moment. While most of the models are solo, some photographs feature two or three people within one cocoon, lifting each other up and pushing them forward. While the journey “Through The Second Skin” honors is often a solitary one, these group portraits acknowledge the universality of the experience, and the strength it creates when we work together to push through these shields.

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