Jordan Eagles, Elizabeth Riggle, and Lorena Salcedo-Watson take up the issue of connective tissue. You know, all that “stuff” that keeps this thing we call a body together. Connective tissue is made up of cells, fibers, and gel-like substances; and is more specifically referred to as blood, bones, and cartilage. Not many artists dig below the skin’s surface to source (or mine?) their subject matter. But these three artists do and they revel in it.
Upon first impression, the works presented in All Made Up might be viewed as interior-abstract body environments or samples from a lab experiment or even scientific illustrations gone awry. But the more we observe these skillfully rendered abstracted artworks the more is revealed and we might begin to question whether or not we are attracted to or repelled by the imagery, especially when considering the subject matter. But really, what is it that attracts us to or repels us from one another – or for that matter anything – and in this instance, artwork? We all hear that “beauty is only skin deep,” and the artists in All Made Up will certainly challenge us with this concept.
Jordan Eagles’ chosen medium is blood, treating it as a universal life force. Working with animal blood from slaughterhouses, his artworks address life-cycle, corporeality, spirituality, and regeneration. His process and work have a strong focus on the material’s physical and dynamic qualities: he manipulates and encases the blood in resin, producing multidimensional forms which reveal the blood’s organic properties and innate energy. Eagles’ preservation technique permanently retains blood’s natural colors, patterns, and textures; when lit, the works become translucent and luminous, reflecting the many layers suspended throughout the resin. The themes of Eagles’ work vary depending on the project, series, and source of blood.
Lorena Salcedo Watson’s drawings interpret the nature of bodily experience, describing our malleable existence in a language of tissue and bone. Sinews, tendons, joints, vertebrae, and muscles stretch, layer, and intersect to describe the palpable tensions and transformations of the human experience.
Like a palimpsest with deep scars and erasures, her drawings document a physical history. Working with charcoal, she creates surfaces and textures with line and tone, smearing and erasing as forms emerge and evolve. Continual changes are integral to the process of developing the image, and the distressed paper surface is often analogous to the corporeal experience being evoked.
In recent years, Elizabeth Riggle has been working on a series of paintings and drawings titled Parts is Parts: A Vertebral Opera. This body of work consists of both “scores” and “scenes.”
In this exhibition Riggle will be presenting the “scores,” in which rows of spines are drawn and painted on long sheets of paper suggesting lines of written music. They suggest a visual/musical narrative that unfolds over time – not unlike the landscapes, journeys, and stories depicted in traditional Chinese scroll paintings. The density, spacing, and coloration of this parade of spines also suggest musical effects like pauses and changes of tempo, voice, key, and instrumentation. Entire spines interact with each other; and individual parts, such as vertebrae and pelvises, morph into extravagant abstract shapes with distinct visual “personalities.” When observing Riggle’s drawings, we end up witnessing both research and expression in her quest to build a better picture; and we join her in the discovery of what “the music of bones” really looks like.