Ariana Page Russell – Magnan Projects NYC
Over this past year I had the pleasure of working with skin artist, Ariana Page Russell. Her inspiration comes from the intricate patterns of her own skin which she photographs and creates beautiful images and installations. We worked together with photographer Laura Totten on a series of photographs for a recent exhibit for Magnan Projects at PULSE, Contemporary Art Fair in NYC.
In the artists own words..
A body becomes an index of passing time. Skin reveals how bones shift, muscles loosen, freckles and wrinkles form, and bruises appear. I am interested in this as a fashion of skin, including the way a blush decorates one’s cheek, freckles form constellations on an arm, or hair creates sheen on skin’s matte surface. Skin also protects us while revealing internal emotions, offering a translucent space for adornment.
My skin is very sensitive and I blush easily. I have dermatographia, a condition in which one’s immune system exhibits hypersensitivity, via skin, that releases excessive amounts of histamine, causing capillaries to dilate and welts to appear (lasting about thirty minutes) when the skin’s surface is lightly scratched. This allows me to painlessly draw patterns and words on my skin, which I then photograph. Even though I can direct this ephemeral response by drawing on it, the reaction is involuntary, much like the uncontrollable nature of a blush.
I also make wallpaper with photographs of my skin cut into decorative designs, then attached to the wall or onto board. The patterns I use range from adaptations of Greek and Etruscan vases, Medieval wall coverings, and Renaissance pottery designs to contemporary wallpaper found in domestic spaces. My father is a wallpaper hanger and working with him off and on over the years fostered an interest in this form of decoration.
Recently I’ve turned some of the patterns made from skin into temporary tattoos, adorning my skin in a different way than drawing on it directly. Scanning the cut photographs of my skin adapted from clothing and wallpaper, I turn them into temporary tattoos, affixing them to my body. These tattoos become an intimate fashion, as their own sort of clothing, and an additional translucent layer for the fashion of skin. Some of the tattoos also go on the wall or window after they’ve made contact with my body, leaving traces of cells and hair, and holding a record of skin’s map.
I am investigating where one surface ends and another begins, the bloom of adornment, and how shifting exteriors reveal as they conceal.
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