Body of Art, now at Northside’s Prairie Gallery, presents work by a dozen artists who all show their own or someone else's physical form in vastly different ways.
Cincinnati artist Michael Scheurer's new video “Far Away Eyes” breaks a couple of conventions. It's visible outside the gallery and not in, and seen at night rather than in the day. The work is back-projected onto the balcony space of this second-story gallery and gives passersby on Hamilton Avenue the distinct impression that someone could be watching. Scheurer has combed magazines from around the world for images of eyes — spectacled eyes, Bollywood eyes, eyes of all sorts — for a video that startles, amuses and leaves a disturbing line of thought about how easily and unknowingly we can be under camera surveillance in today's world.
Another video, by New York-based Kate Gilmore, explores the relationship of an actual body (hers) with an actual camera (also hers), suggesting that the human might not always have the upper hand. She calls the 2005 piece “So Much It Hurts” and leaves us to draw our own conclusions as to who's in charge — in the video and perhaps in the larger world.
Artists have always found the self-portrait useful. It's convenient (the subject is always there) and cheap (no model fees) but also can be a telling means of comment. Mortality might be the underlying subject matter of Boston photographer Karl Baden's “Every Day,” which draws from the project he began nearly 25 years ago: Photographing himself daily, a head shot against white backdrop. He uses the same camera and set-up each time, so rigged that the components can travel with him if necessary. He plans, his statement says, “to measure obsessively and incrementally” his own face “for the rest of my life.”
Body of Art continues at Prairie Gallery through Aug. 20. Go here to read Jane Durrell's full review.