Em pointed me to Ariana Page Russell‘s work a couple of months back and now I see that the Brooklyn-based artist is having a show at MagnanMetz Gallery, here in NYC, at the end of the month. Russell has dermatographia, a condition in which her immune system exhibits hypersensitivity through the skin, causing painless, temporary welts that emerge when lightly scratched. She exploits this condition in her artwork by creating patterns on different parts of her body and photographing them as the skin becomes irritated and swells. A sort of skin tattoo. She has also created different wallpaper patterns using c-prints of her skin in all its irritated shades.
From the gallery’s site:
Russell’s recent work continues to explore the possibilities of flesh, using her skin as both source material and an entry to go deeper into the body and its emotions. Images of Russell’s abdomen appear throughout the exhibit: covering the gallery window; in a photograph of her torso blanketed in triangular welts resembling raised sails; and as the temporary tattoo mask that she manipulates over her face in the video, Blouse. In this piece, she exhales sharply into the mask to produce a fleeting, gauzy window. A sudden inhale collapses the window to create a skin-tight barrier with each breath. Blouse comes to a close as Russell removes the tattoo, her unadorned face remaining interrogative but naked of the revelatory mask.
Maybe not for everyone, but definitely pretty unique.