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Beauty in art is skin deep

by Archives March 20, 2002

Flesh – peal back its manufactured, mass marketed perfected layer and behold what Karilee Fuglem has seen, an Uncanny revelation of the origin of life found within the many folds of microscopic flesh.
Fuglem started taking pictures of her “postpartum belly,” the scarred flesh from the cesarean section performed during the birth of her first child, a year ago.
Black and white, soft and grainy digital close ups of her flesh become the focus of her work: an investigation of the origin of Life, first hers, her daughter’s and essentially ours as well.
The images take on limitless mutations and illusive forms when contemplated. At first wistful clouds, then an immense ocean, maybe even pizza dough and perhaps finally a lunar surface. All resemble the nebulous and endless. I don’t know if it was because I had just finished two papers and my mental capacities were suffering from major depletion, but the hypnotic ebb of the images were pleasantly soothing.
Fuglem remarks that they “assumed geographic features initially reminiscent of the southern British Columbia landscape in which I grew up and my water-stretched flesh, once home to other lives and bearing the remnant of my own umbilical connection to another belly, now recalled the place which was my home.”
These photographic images seem to also reflect humanity’s search for the origin or beginning within the realm of religion and science and remind us of what is essentially unattainable and boundless.
The images of various proportions are laid over a black surface inscribed with the names of geographical locations.
The words, almost become a game of connect the dot or perhaps a celestial map, again evoking a sense of humanity’s efforts to plot, grid and understand the world around them.
As well each other word begins with the letters K and A, the two first letters of the artist’s first name: Karilee.
The artist admits that “Over time, other topographies have come to mind; shifting ridges of sand dunes and snow drifts, seascapes, vast regions viewed from space or even the moon itself. I give them place names similar to my own in a flailing reach beyond the implicit self-absorption of the work”
Uncanny, a truly self-aggrandizing project, also features Suzan Dionne’s work. She views her canvas as a skin and the paints blots like leaking pores, appearing like corrosive acid eating away at the canvas.
The show is held at La Centrale, which, founded in 1973,is one of the oldest artist managed art centres in Quebec and the only one devoted solely to showcasing the works of contemporary women artists. Located at 460 Ste-Catherine Ouest, the free and very worthwhile show runs until March 30, 2002.

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