By Princy Prasad
Special to the Chronicle
“Body conscious,” Kay Hopkins and Matt Aponte’s joint gallery show, shakes up the stereotypical concept and image of the human body.
The show encourages viewers to look at the human form in a new and refreshing way. More impressively, it dramatically displays the body as moving machine. Each form is perfect in their “flaws,” and there is precise design and detail to every human.
“[People] are always going to have imperfections,” said Hopkins.
However, it is through those imperfections that senior photography major Hopkins created magnificent art.
Hopkins pushed her boundaries by not simply hanging portraits. Using documentary style for her first fine art expedition, Hopkins used her passion for dance, fashion and music photography to translate her understanding and portrayal of the human form.
Hopkins began by asking models to focus on their favorite and then least favorite body part: “Their confident and least confident parts,” said Hopkins.
For every person, their dislikes and likes become evident in the way she allows the simple black and white photography to focus on shape and movement. Hopkins moved away from her comfort zone of staged photography, yet there is still a sense of fashion, dance and even music photography in this body of work.
The bodies themselves are musical pieces, just as many dancers would consider their movements to be a part of the sounds they move to.
Fashion photography focuses on capturing the eye and leading it somewhere; the viewers’ eyes can trail along collarbone and skin, down spines and deep into eyes.
The gray tones and high contrast allow the human form to be a moving still image. The juxtaposition of photos with textures and fluid lines of body parts add to the individuality of her artistic design.
All of the images are in stark black and white contrast; however, specific aspects, such as eye color, have remained.
The images capture the depth within the eyes, all very colorful, but do not make them so overly vibrant that it takes away from the overall intention of her portraits. Each image is careful and purposefully placed in a collage format, not one image stands alone. Each body and part fuses with others to express the beauty in each portion.
One person’s least favorite part has become part of another’s most favorite. Eventually, each frame becomes part of a moving film that displays the beauty in every individual.
Along with these gorgeous images, the gallery features Aponte’s sculptures, a mix of several mediums. Hopkins shot the literal body, whereas Aponte focused on dissecting the form and exploring it down to the anatomy itself. His pieces include a wooden spine and rib cage, as well as plaster figurines. Each piece has an aspect of broken and twisted imperfection. His work displays the physical human body, with unique dents and fissures.
The scale of his wood paneled man, rib cage and spine is astounding to take in. Stepping back, viewers can imagine such things being in their own bodies, but when Aponte scales them to be so large, these normal pieces of internal systems become artistic and not so blandly scientific.
The smaller sculptures are made of plaster and chicken wire, titled, “Family of Imperfections.” Each miniature being has its own meaning and ideal of how skewed the concept of “perfection” is.
“Beauty and Her Imperfections” displays a plaster woman angled in a way that would appear seductive or at least fluid and elaborate. Yet, her form itself is uneven, splotchy and misshapen. It expresses that “beauty,” or the ideal of it, is not one-dimensional.
“Feed Me Imperfections” is a little fat man that conveys the gluttonous behavior society instills in us. We, as consumers, look to advertising and then to ourselves, trying to force a cookie-cutter image of “perfection,” yet this only feeds our sense of imperfection.
The last figure, titled “Smooth Imperfections,” hints at “faking a Rico Suave” kind of demeanor of flawlessness. The frontal portion is without blemish, yet once you walk around to the back, the figure is chipping, broken, almost incomplete. Many times perfection is a facade that we wear like masks.
A former biology major, Aponte, now a junior industrial design major found his creative side needed further exploration. He took his major-changing journey as inspiration for this show. His knowledge of anatomy allowed him to delve into how the body works. His creativity let him express it.
“[I] recreated [my] version of the human body,” said Aponte.
Some pieces weigh hundreds of pounds while others are intimately small, yet they display the abrupt displacement of “perfect” and “imperfect.” Aponte plans to go bigger and better as his work progresses.
His goal is not to make perfect sculptures or renditions of things he knows.
“[I want to] take [the] body for what it is,” said Aponte.
Both artists worked tirelessly, staying up through the night before their gallery opening on Feb. 18, to finish on time.
The collaboration will stay in FORM gallery until Feb 23. It was the first FORM show for Aponte, and Hopkins' second.
Their arduous work was evident in the success of the opening reception. Dozens of students came to not only revel into their own portraits but also experience true adoration for the simplicity and counterbalancing complexity that is the body. Their art makes viewers look at their own forms in a more appreciative light.