Eyes on the Body-Selections from the Collection

McDowell Galleries

Since the beginning of recorded history, artists have used the human form to express a range of experiences and emotions. This exhibition of works from the museum's collection demonstrates how artists working in a variety of media continue to find a vital source of inspiration in the human figure. Some use the human body to explore and questions social norms. In their images of women, painter Malcah Zeldis and photographer Cindy Sherman highlight the potent power of female beauty and how it is represented in film and print media. Other artists use the human figure to examine or confront psychological issues. Thom Shaw's dramatic woodcut print reflects his struggle through illness, while D. Anthony Mahone's haunting photographs signify his experience of racial discrimination. Some modern and contemporary artists focus on the color, shape, and texture of a body, allowing us to inscribe our own stories and emotions onto the figure. Many artists also employ innovative techniques in order to recast traditional methods of representing the human body. Silhouetted self-portraits (made with a giant Polaroid camera) by Marina Abramovic and Uwe Laysiepen are reminiscent of old-fashioned paper cutouts or fanciful illustrations in children's books. George Segal's life-size plaster figure of a woman bears some resemblance to ancient marble sculptures, but its lumpy surface texture and inelegant pose are far from idealized. Whether touching on an emotional subject or exploring a radical new way of depicting the human body, the works in this exhibition prove that body language is still the most powerful of all. Organized by the Akron Art Museum and supported in part by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts.