Snapshots of exhibition. Up for one more week!
Closing October 2nd, 2010
ARTIST STATEMENT - ELSA VOELCKER
Vulnerability is a major issue in America today. Our mythology of independence, the Daniel Boone mystique, forces people without adequate resources into isolation. But alienation is not true personal freedom. In an effort to maintain an armor around the painful self, many people are resorting to body piercings.
To some people, body piercing is alarming. I felt that way myself, before I began my photographic study entitled Piercing Portraits, the Body as Canvas. As I photographed people in all age groups and walks of life with body piercings, I began to see the people behind the piercings, trying to find a way to be unique in the world and become part of a supportive tribe. A mutual respect formed as my subjects proudly displayed their piercings . As a college professor, I noticed students acquiring more and more piercings. Piercing becomes legal at age eighteen, and students are away from home for the first time. They are patronizing piercing parlors around colleges, because young people see piercing as a rite of passage. When they find out that they can withstand the pain, they are eager to plan the next piercing. Many of the participants noted an addictive quality; the pain seems to release endorphins, creating a different state of mind.
These works are taken from a series of black and white portraits photographed using a medium format camera and printed on gelatin silver paper.