Salt water skin, stretched Lycra, pearled perspiration, oiled up glutes, and bathing caps. Making Waves illuminates the epitome of summertime through this conglomeration of photographs. Daniel Cooney Fine Art captures the sensual and blithe antics of summer, while also effectively using the potency of memory and identity to anchor the exhibit. The show incorporates archetypal prints of swimmers and divers, saucy images of porn stars in Speedos, bikini clad rich girls who reside by Hollywoodian pools, and abstract images where the naked body is spliced or converged. This final group of images subverts the very apparent sexiness and almost cliché theme, transforming Making Waves into an exhibit that uses summertime as a platform where questions of representation and the body can be explored.
Brea Souder’s Sunburn in Naples (2010) teeters between a staged photograph and a minimalist painting. From far away the photograph dissolves into a hazy array of colors that are balanced perfectly by the images overall symmetry and delicate construction. The distilled elegance of the photograph immediately recalls the prints of Katsushika Hokusai. However, as you get closer to the piece—the head in the center of the image becomes incredibly massive and tactile. It is as if you can just barely run your fingers through the woman’s brown, sun-kissed hair; you can almost locate the salt in between the strands. The smell of hot summer afternoons and that damp mineral taste of sand linger on her burnt skin.
Making Waves also showcases five efficacious images from Slava Mogutin’s series Paradise Superm (2012). In Brian Bending (2012), the naked male body is transformed through a slow dissolve. The body is reprinted, reversed, and divided against beached driftwood. The dissident textures of the idyllic masculine form, against the naturalistic, callus setting galvanizes the tension within the piece. It is most concentrated within the folds of the overlapping body parts. The male form, as object, crouches and hunches his shoulders forward, concealing his face from the viewer. The body clashes with nature, and even with itself in this image, alluding to discordant social norms and binary gender roles that are confronted throughout the series’ entirety.
This provocative collection of photographs is definitely making waves. Not only is it unapologetically voyeuristic and raunchy, but forces its audience to look beyond the skin tight bathing suits and bare-chested babes—capturing intimate, yet collective perceptions on the expectations of the body through experience. Making Waves confronts those experiences on the beach or in the pool, where the body is unabashedly on display.
By Ashley Temple