We gathered in a DUMBO gallery, in Brooklyn, New York for an art exhibit that sheds light on an age-old question: What is beauty? How do our cultural biases and skin tone shape that perception? Does the “beauty standard ” change over time? How is beauty defined and best admired?
My favorite shot by my friend Dea Jenkins is below left. She’s an artist, an award-winning film maker, and organizer of this event. Also, the list of participating artists. Above right, Dea and I at her the exhibit she coordinated and showed at.
PRETTY DARK GIRL
Dea is publishing an art book with the same name and wanted to explore this topic. To stand up to her intellectual and aesthetic demands, this had to be a compendium of the thoughts of others. The result was an illuminating exhibit on feminine beauty that perhaps answered as many questions, as it left open. Only the best and most dynamic exhibits, or pieces of art, accomplishes this lofty goal. Shots from the event:
First photo from Taryn Wells
An artist whose worked moved me that evening is Taryn Wells. This is how she describes herself and her body of art:
My artwork at this particular time is a dialogue that explores the complicated world of racial identity and the desire to find my place within it as a multiracial individual. The basis of the series emanated from the history of people of mixed race, or lack thereof, in relation to American society. I used the human figure – a public and yet personal image – as a metaphor for my own personal experiences. My goal was to convey the struggle, hardships, and various categorizations that I have undergone through body language and more specifically, facial expression. The different contortions of the body and the intense gazes help convey my feelings of desperation, isolation, vulnerability, and confusion. All of the individuals depicted in my work, whether literally or figuratively, represent parts of my inner-self and can be described as self-portraits.
By using graphite for the series, I was able to create the sharp contrast and isolation that I desired. Most importantly, the medium was able to transmit the continuous theme of black and white. All of the works in the series were done in this matter for exactly that desired effect.
By Taryn Wells, a most affecting shot ( I doubled it here)
I was also quite taken with the opening shot that Dea had photographed. Dea has extraordinary vision and the kind of empathy that creates art that is compelling. Below, a shot of a mirror she created. With wire in layers around it, one can imagine the distortions to the beauty of what is reflected. The symbolism here is self-evident.
More pieces that I admire:
Shots of me mingling, enjoying the art and wonderful company.
Stacy Berman (no relation) had a photo shoot projected at the exhibit and it incorporated women she has counseled. She has a great following and a unique approach to helping women of all sizes and colors to accept and love themselves. Her piece was called The Goddess Unmasked.
A very colorful backroom and hallway of the Rabbithole gallery.
Saying my goodbye’s and heading towards home.
Thank you to Geraldo Vitale for photos.
I AM WEARING PRADA, LES COPAINS, & M.PATMOS, all thrifted, with benefits benefiting a shelter for battered women. Jewelry from KC Signatures. Crocodile clutch is vintage Bally.
I am most certainly seeing a shifting notion of what is considered beautiful. I see broader strokes instead of a thin line, a livelier and more vibrant concept. I see more skin tones included, more body types, and even older ages. It is a good change. I am feeling it.
What about you?