May 16 – July 18, 2018
Gage & Christensen Gallery
In this two-person exhibition titled Still. Here., Barbara Kendrick tackles aging and Monique Luchetti takes on death, both reckoning with mortality.
Kendrick plasters her own image onto a pantheon of historic statuary plucked from the halls of museums, confronting our culture’s aversion to seeing the wrinkled truths of aging. Luchetti resurrects anonymous dead birds she finds in ornithology collections, draws portraits of them, in the hope of redemption.
Barbara F. Kendrick, Professor Emerita, School of Art and Design, University of Illinois, received her B.F.A. at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and her M.F.A. from The Ohio State University. She has exhibited her work in France, England and Greece as well as throughout the United States. She has received fellowships from the Millay Colony, the MacDowell Colony, the Henry Luce Foundation and the Virginia Center for Creative Arts. Other residencies include Yaddo, Jentel, Ragdale, Bemis, the Ecole des Beaux Arts, Cergy-Pontoise, France, Fundacio Artigas, Gallifa, Spain and the Burren College of Art in Ballyvaughan, Ireland. She has received grants from the Illinois Arts Council, Shirley Holden Helberg, the Mid-America Arts Alliance and the Pollock-Krasner Foundation.
Observe me. Here I am, dressed and draped in my wrinkled skin. My face is pasted on an image of a marble bust, a self-portrait with the immortality of marble and the deterioration of flesh. My sagging, crepey skin mocks the perfection of marble, a bold, vulnerable, confrontation with the evidence of aging.
As a culture we have an aversion to the wrinkled truths of aging. Self-portraits by women showing their aging skin are rare. In Fleshed Out, I use photos of my wrinkled neck, chest, arms and hands as draped clothing, substituting the folds of my skin for the folds of sculpted fabric.
The self-portraits are digital collages, inkjet prints ranging in size from 12 x 12 inches to 26 x 20 inches. The images of the busts and sculptures come from museum collections or public sculpture. Imposing my face, with its visible pores, age spots and wrinkles onto smooth, generalized marble faces gives them a specificity they lacked. Marble lasts, flesh does not. Photos of my wrinkled skin become stuff to work with, a material I manipulate in Photoshop, to clothe the sculpture.
Women my age are nearly invisible in a youth-oriented, anti-aging culture. We do not want to see bodily evidence of deterioration and decay. I confront these fears as I clothe marble busts in the skin we would prefer to erase or veil.