ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT
Exhibit: Skin Tones
Artists: Allyson Glenn, Lenny Piroth-Robert, John MacDonald, Vicki Smith
Location: Michael Gibson Gallery
By Ash Wittig
I’VE GOT YOU UNDER MY... Vicki Smith’s oil on canvas “Tangle” is
on display at the Michael Gibson Gallery’s group exhibit Skin Tones.
Whether you knew it or not, human skin is made up of almost every conceivable
colour. Nothing could display this better than the art exhibit Skin Tones,
which opened last Saturday.
Including the work of four different artists, Skin Tones is a collection of
works that display the many facets of our largest organ. Consisting of human
subjects, these paintings vary widely from artist to artist. Some of the subjects
are portrayed in the nude, while some are fully clothed; most are female, but
some depict men as well.
“Dresden Interior II,” an oil painting by Lenny Piroth-Robert,
is of a 20-something male nonchalantly sitting in a green armchair. At first
glance, there is nothing miraculous about this painting, but a closer look
reveals the smaller details that make it beautiful. The detailing of light
and colour give a sense of a glowing aura around the man.
Allyson Glenn’s paintings are very severe and extremely raw. A good
example of this is the blunt depiction of a nude woman in “Nude Study
with Still Life.” The woman’s skin is roughly painted using almost
every colour on the palate. From a distance, it melds together and looks perfect;
it is only from a close vantage point that the rough, seemingly careless strokes
can be seen in all their colours.
John MacDonald’s “Untitled 193” is a fantastic example of
painting light into a work of art. He depicts a nude woman sitting on a rock
by a body of water. The front of the woman is nonexistent due to heavy shadows
and the way in which her body is turned. Instead, MacDonald chooses to focus
on her back, possibly the largest uninterrupted surface of skin on the body.
The light source focuses on her back and he uses many shades and tones of cream
to depict every facet of light as it would fall on her.
The largest collection in the exhibit is by Vicki Smith, whose paintings are
all nudes. In every depiction of the human form, she chooses to have the body
in an unnatural or seemingly uncomfortable position. “Tangle” is
a painting of a woman who appears to be lying down on her side but, at the
same time, upside down.
Smith’s paintings are the most unconventional in the collection and
are sure to be the cause of many double-takes. She plays with the human form,
crunching subjects into yoga-like poses, curling them into the fetal position
or stretching them out in their fullest form. Her depiction of skin tone ranges
from the small of one’s back to the bottom of another’s feet, employing
many different shades of oranges, yellows and reds.
All four artists are successful in achieving their goal of depicting different
ways of creating skin tone, showing it to be flawless from a distance, yet
at the same time rough and full of colour and light.
Skin Tones is showing at the Michael Gibson Gallery at 157 Carling St., until
Saturday, Mar. 27.