PHILADELPHIA, PA.- In these small-scale drawings, created while the artist was in Rome, Italy, last year, delicate, pencil-sketched figures are juxtaposed with the bold, graphic designs they bear. Visually, the bodies seem to recede or even dissipate as the often brightly colored ink designs appear to hover on the page as if overlaid rather than inscribed upon the skin.
According to Moores artist statement,
The widespread use of contemporary digital media has resulted in a cultural landscape in which visual information is exchanged with rapid speed, seamlessly ruptured from its origins. Stripped of context, a new language of visual form has emerged in which symbols are reduced to mere syntax and meaning is obscured or obliterated. Looking around we can see easily that a trend toward uniformity has lead to an increased need for many to define themselves as other through marking the body with tattoos, scars, or burns. In my most recent work I am interested in investigating how this nascent lexicon of sampled marks combinations of tribal, religious, feminist, and memorial, to name just a few - leads individuals to assert their identity by decorating their skin.
Moore is especially interested in the opposition between the desire to mark the body as a way of asserting individuality and uniqueness on the one hand and the homogenizing ubiquity of contemporary tattooing, a once but no longer marginalized practice, on the other. Second Skin: Drawings comes out of a larger ongoing body of work comprising both small and large-scale paintings and drawings that portray the tattooed body.
Moore is a figurative artist whose work has focused on bodies and faces, often on the tension between anonymity and specificity. She depicts faces that are mask-like and inscrutably devoid of personality and torsos that are frequently cropped of head and limbs, presenting these compositions in repetitious arrangements that compel the viewer to focus on the formal elements of the work. Similarly, the 28 same-sized drawings in the exhibition Second Skin: Drawings invite viewers to concentrate on designs and the bodies that wear them rather than on the personalities of the individual models who have chosen to permanently decorate their skin as a way of suggesting or highlighting certain, personal qualities.
Susan Moore earned her BFA at Indiana University and her MFA at the University of California at Davis. She exhibits nationally and in England and Italy. Moores work has been collected by a number of institutions including The Philadelphia Museum of Art, the National Portrait Gallery in Washington, D.C. and the La Salle University Art Museum.