Marcia Slatkin: Correspondences

November 18 – December 31, 2017

Reception: Saturday, November 18, 4 – 6 PM


Artist Talk: Saturday, November 18, 2 PM

In 1985 I decided to study shape and shadow photo-graphically by isolating bones/ eggs in my studio, as they provided clean, spare specimens. In a small darkroom, with a good supply of bones from Long Island farms, I worked for structure, contrast, elegance.

I lived in a commune on 18 wooded acres near Stony Brook University, Long Island, where I found models who could climb trees.  I shot trunks beside trunks, limbs between limbs.

But this led to deeper insights. Suddenly, our arms did look like branches; our torso did, in form and function, resemble trunks of trees.

We were truly part of nature, within it, and operated much as others in nature did. The metaphor grew. A woman’s abdomen, bearer/ protector of life, is a nest; a pregnant belly and engorged breast are gourd-like vessels. Deer hooves resembled our toes. The peeling bark of trees rippled like locks of hair. The female clitoris seemed like life within shells.

Then, I thought of men and their complex reproductive apparatus. Was the phrase “horny” an accident, or did it harken back to physical resemblance? Was the snake in biblical history a disrupter, much in the way man enters woman, explosively creating new life? Seeds and gourds correspond, visually or functionally, to male organs as well as female.

So it went. The journey was exciting, with physical resemblance alone sometimes enough for me to set up /capture the image. I always sought structural elegance: clean, spare use of space.

Various cultures view our species/ bodies differently. Most of the world’s religions place humankind above nature. The covering of the body is often considered requisite modesty in the service of God, and is in some religions even used to subjugate women. But our general attitude of human supremacy has led to terrible despoiling of earth and the extinction of species. Meanwhile, within the capitalist “religion,” myriad designers labor to clothe, disguise, to make our forms sensual / sexual — to embellish our bodies for profit.

My images are just one of many ways to place our bodies in a meaningful context. This exhibit, then, is an offering of my vision of our place within nature.

Marcia Slatkin, November 2017

2017 Solo Show Artists

Juror: Susana Torruella Leval
Director Emerita El Museo del Barrio
Chair of the New York City Cultural Affairs Advisory Commission

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