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The most beautiful form in nature

The female form is captured in a variety of beautiful and interesting media now adorning the walls of the William and Nancy Oliver Gallery. The female body and its nature form the central theme of this exhibit, and serve as the common thread that binds two artists together. Heather Linton’s skin prints coupled with Alison Riley’s collages and digital projections spark a distinct, feminine synergy that unfurls in a diverse display of expression.

Explaining how the artists came together for the Modification & Distortion of Nature exhibit, Riley said, “I knew Heather liked skin prints. And I was interested in the female body, so I thought these ideas would mesh well together.”

Linton’s absorbing creations are classified as skin prints. She applies different black liquids, black finger-paint and photo developer on her skin, and then presses her skin on the canvas. This medium provides for a unique print each time.

“These things happen only once; these images cannot be reproduced,” Linton said. “In art, I’m very interested in leaving a certain proof. I want to leave behind something that I can stand back and recognize as my own. It’s not me, but it’s taken from me. It cannot happen again or be reprinted.”

Linton developed her passion for skin printing completely unintentionally.

“I initially started playing with this art form in the dark room where I developed photographs … it was all by accident,” she said. “I was interested in the details of the skin.”

One of the walls of the gallery showcases an index of 12 frames that are mystifying yet intriguing. They bear images that Linton created using her right hand as a physical entity. The fingers, palm, wrist and hand as a whole are presented in various conformations and angles. Having used skin printing as a form of expression for nearly two years, Linton shares advice for amateurs and artists interested in this field.

“While using skin printing, one must be health conscious, always, in every way,” she said. “But one should also keep experimenting with different kinds of inks, print and any other mediums.”

Riley’s part of the exhibit is equally captivating. Collages and digital projections are her forms of expression, each focusing on the female body.

“I have an older sister,” said Riley. “A lot of the clothes we wear don’t look

correct according to today’s magazines. At the same time, we’re pretty comfortable with our bodies. I don’t understand why girls would go under plastic surgery to have artificial bodies.”

While one can be immediately fascinated with her three collages, their titles also stimulate curiosity within the viewer. “KateCameronAudreyCharlizeHeidiAngelinaRebeccaKate,” for instance, is an unusual title. It’s only upon close observation that one can correlate the title with the collage, which encompasses the body parts of the female celebrities listed in the title. Her collages are a response to I Want A Famous Face, an MTV show that follows the transformations of young people who undergo plastic surgery to look like their celebrity idols, Riley said.

“Today, people want to make the perfect person,” she said. “These are the features people find to be desirable. People say ‘I want this person’s eyes, this person’s face’ etc. The individual features are attractive, but the collage as a whole … maybe not.”

Two digital projections flank the collage wall. Both are large, fast-paced slideshows. One focuses on breasts and the other on the derrière. In a span of about two minutes, more than 200 pictures of characteristic female body parts flash before the viewer’s eyes.

“I wanted the viewer to be overwhelmed by it,” Riley said. “And there’s just so much of it. It is so fast, the scale is so large … the whole idea is to sense that the beauty is right there in

your face.”

The projection focusing on the backside, titled “A Place to Put My Drink On,” is based on Riley’s personal experience.

“A couple years ago, I lost weight and my big butt went away,” Riley said. “So, one of my friends said ‘I can’t put my drink on your ass anymore.’ Hence,

the title.”

For freshman Katrice Jackson, the exhibit defied her expectations.

“I loved all of these pieces of art,” she said. “These are significantly different from what I expected before coming to the gallery. I thought I would see paintings and sketches, but it turned out to be more pleasant of a surprise than any other. The skin print ‘Profile: Left, Right’ and the collages are my favorites. These works beautifully capture and present the female body.”

The Modification & Distortion of Nature exhibit is on display from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. through today in the William and Nancy Oliver Gallery. A reception for the exhibition will be held at the gallery on Friday at 7 p.m.