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Naked Underneath

August 13 - September 16, 2016

Curated by Shannon Currie Holmes


Cathy Akers, Tim Doyle, Colleen Kelly, Alison Kuo, Jane Szabo, Carrie Yury

The artists in Naked Underneath explore the shared human struggle with identity. Revelations from self-examination, studies in social anthropology, astute observations about prejudice and outright rebellion against established morals; each artist emboldens us to scratch below the surface to reveal a web of human complexity. We are all naked underneath. What we see is only a fraction of who we are.

Cathy Akers’ work is an anthropological study of the intricacy and contradictions of the communal movements of the 1960’s. Akers’ explores the human need to build social groups and the abiding interest in the idea of creating a utopian society often counter to prevailing culture. Her photographic collages juxtapose historical images of communes with her own photographs of the present-day communities. The intersection of past and present can also seen in her delicate works in porcelain. In both medium, the figures are sometimes blurred and ghostlike, but they are permanent, calling attention to the fragility and fleeting nature of the communes, as well as to their lasting influence.

Cathy Akers received her MFA from the California Institute of the Arts. She has had a number of solo exhibitions in California and group shows throughout the US and in Belgium, Israel, The United Kingdom, The Czech Republic and Germany. She has received a number of awards and grants most recently a Traveling Scholar Fellowship from the School of the Museum of Fine Arts Boston for her work on US communes.

Tim Doyle’s sculptures begin in the modernist tradition of organic abstraction deconstructing figure based formalism, but from there Doyle creates his own metaphoric relationship to the human body through his intuitive reconstruction of the figure. Doyle’s sculptures, as described by art critic Peter Frank are “emphatically sexual, brimming with sleek, firm limbs, extravagant curves, and surprisingly, sensually smooth and symmetric crooks and crevices.” But they are also elusive, Frank continues, “From no angle do even the smallest of Doyle’s sculptures provide the viewer a stable reading…Doyle’s sculptures achieve a peculiar, very neo modern dis-focus, a subtle ungainliness that allows, even necessitates, multiple readings from any vantage.”

Tim Doyle received his MFA from Southern Illinois University. He has been awarded a number of public art grants and his work can be found in numerous private and corporate collections. He has exhibited in solo and group exhibitions throughout Southern California and beyond.

Colleen Kelly’s body of work titled, Naked Under Her Clothes (the namesake to the show) was born from censorship. Kelly, confronted by a “no nudes” rule decided in defiance to “dress” her figures. In her print shop old dress-making patterns used for polishing plates were plentiful and the discarded envelopes featured drawn models of similar size to her prints. Using a technique called chine-collé, Kelly opened the door to a new body of work, layered in practice and layered in meaning. The newly clothed figures evoke deeper reflection about morality, censorship, the tyranny of fashion and puritanical notions that naked equals sexual and sexual equals evil. Her work asks: “How do our clothes effect us? How do our clothes effect our relationship with others?”

Colleen Kelly has enjoyed an extensive career in the arts. Kelly studied at the University of California, Santa Barbara receiving her MFA in 1980. She has won numerous awards and has exhibited her artwork throughout California.

Alison Kuo chooses to work with the inflexible medium of watercolor, the pigment unconventionally opaque, much like our inherent biases. The identity of Kuo’s subjects are undetermined, yet in our desire to make sense of what we are seeing, we instinctively fill in the missing components. We make judgments solely based on the superficial information provided. The complete images we make in our minds often do not accurately represent the subjects since they are based on our individual prejudices. Our conditioned perceptions lead to generalizations that are difficult to alter as they are programmed and reiterated in our social environment. Kuo’s work does not attempt to change our established views; it attempts to heighten our awareness to our own bias.

Alison Kuo received her MFA from the University of Southern California after receiving her BFA from the University of North Texas. Her artwork has been shown throughout the United States and in Canada.

Jane Szabo merges fabrication with conceptual photography in a series of “self-portraits” presented as a typology of the artist. Dresses made from personal or familiar objects hanging empty as still-life, like paper-dolls waiting to be put on or removed as mood or personality changes. They invite the viewer to contemplate possible connections and create their own mythology. The examination of one’s self is a layered exploration of the external and internal that reveals a psychological interpretation of the complexity of being human.

Jane Szabo earned her MFA from Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, CA. She has exhibited widely, including a solo show this year at the Museum of Art & History (MOAH) in Lancaster, CA. Her work has been included in numerous group exhibitions throughout California and as far away as Taiwan at the International Photographer Exhibition.

Carrie Yury’s diptychs are contextual portraits; part anthropology, part boudoir photography and each is as much about the personal space of the domestic environment as it is about the body. The portraits of bodies twisted and split between panels and then reassembled in impossible ways, simultaneously display and disrupt the classic ideal of the nude. Yury challenges the viewer to look at the fantasy of the body as a whole (a seeming möbius strip), and yet does not allow visual access to the full form, leading the viewer to look for clues amongst the personal items of the boudoir to learn more about the person who occupies the room.

Carrie Yury received her MFA from the University of California and her MA from the University of Chicago after completing her BA at the University of California, Santa Cruz. She has had solo-exhibitions throughout California and her work has been selected by numerous curators for group exhibitions in both gallery and museum venues including the Hammer Museum and The Los Angeles County Museum of Art. She is a frequent contributor to the Huffington Post and Artillery.


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