But many of the other artists featured in the show offer expressions of beauty that are decidedly less conventional. There are ’s
portraits of young men, tattooed and rough around the edges, and ’s
flower-bedecked girls, seeming to gaze back at the viewer—dreamy visions with technicolor hair and gothic lipstick. ’s
dark figures look like they were pulled from the masses at Burning Man; ’s
hyperrealistic oils seem to capture both the spectacular beauty and the inevitable flaws, the joy and the anguish of being a woman.
The contrast in Elliott’s works is particularly apropos for this show. After all, Overbury’s original poem, “A Wife,” is about the imperfection of humans, the endless cycle of lust, and the passing of physical beauty. In their varying interpretations of this perennially intriguing theme, the artists of “Skin Deep” prove the truth in another old phrase with little-known origins: the idea that beauty is impossible to define because it lies, indeed, in the eye of the beholder.
“Skin Deep” is on view at RJD Gallery, Sag Harbor, NY, May 30–Jun. 22, 2015.