A Public Skin: Alex Olson, Alteronce Gumby, Bassam Al-Sabah, Joan Nelson, Rashaad Newsome

1 Sep-1 Oct 2022
PV 1 Sep 2022, 6-8pm


Andy Warhol’s infamous 1966 claim that anyone seeking traces of authorship in his work need only look at the surface of his paintings, sculptures and films – “there I am. There’s nothing behind it” – is only really infamous if you think of surfaces as superficial, or of superficiality as something not worth thinking about. Superficiality is only skin deep anyway: any painting is two surfaces touching, like hands in prayer, a hidden support and a visible outer skin. Applying the latter to the former is a matter of masking or concealment, with all the suggestive potential that brings to mind. It’s in the gap between the two that the approaches of the artists on show here come to life. The aim is not to disentangle them but to see one in terms of the other, to hold the private support and the public surface in productive tension. Painting, here, is the guiding metaphor, despite the range of media on show: its interplay of skins is the territory we’re in.