Skin Deep

The idea of skin as the layer of reality that interfaces with the physical world is the topic of this year’s photo-essay. It is the surface that protects what lays hidden underneath. In most cases it is also a potent expression of what is inside. Sometimes it can symbolically represent its content. At other times the skin is functionally the most important part of the object it represents. In any case, these examples show how beautiful the surface can be when the skin is eroded and compromised. It can reveal something other than it was meant to, or expose a visual experience deeper than what it holds inside. The idea of beauty is important. Aesthetics is a science that has far deeper metaphysical implications than mere conceptual manipulation. The corresponding architectural folly that houses this collection is a foil to these concepts in that its form is comprised of functional elements that have no real meaning. These elements that normally serve the function of structure and vertical circulation are relegated to fictional arrangements to create an aesthetic impression. Another layer of this type of manipulation is manifest in the oil painting on top of this 3D rendering. Its reproduction is still another generation of representation. The skin, in this case, becomes a space in our imagination. Unlike the other follies in this series, it has no real backbone in sacred geometry or formal function. This type of fiction desires to inhabit a type of landscape Borges would inspire. The photographs themselves, however, have come back to the tradition of straight shots. Their only digital manipulation lies in color correction. The notion of origin is a relevant topic at this point. The qualities inherent in an image depend on the device(s) used in its capture. Today’s digital reality allows us to simulate any type of historical capture device. What are the implications? It reinforces our belief that the art of today is most poignant when it plays off of our historical perceptions of representation, and not solely in its political skin of conceptually narrative qualities.

more images of the folly

collection of photographs