The Human Canvas in Review

The Human Canvas, an art show directed by Rochester resident Rebecca Coleman and sponsored by Naturist Rochester, took the stage at the Visual Studies Workshop on Sunday, January 21, at 2:00 pm. The show derived its name from the fact that the artwork was painted onto the bodies of seven models by Coleman and a fellow artist who wishes to remain anonymous. The designs ranged from the amorphous and swirling patterns that were painted on the models representing Fire (Cinnamea Sweet) and Water (Joe Piazza), to the intricately detailed patterns that were painted onto Mother Earth (Ginger Wilbert) and Death (Grace Kellie).

The painting was performed in stages, and each model traversed the length of the catwalk after each stage was painted, allowing audience members to view the work as it progressed. Performance art was also incorporated into the show, as each model not only worked to portray the life event or elemental force they represented, but also interacted with the Man (David Burmingham) as the show progressed.

Unlike all other models, the artwork for Man was not painted in stages. This artwork had been completed prior to the beginning of the show, allowing it to be far more detailed and complex. Instead, Man entered into the show clothed and the underlying patterns were revealed in parts as the other models removed parts of his attire throughout the show.

The show moved at a smooth and captivating pace, a tribute to the artist?s talent, as they worked hard to paint each new stage of artistic development quickly enough to keep the show moving. The length of time each model spent traversing the catwalk gave the audience plenty of time to appreciate the patterns while keeping the show moving along. Music, mostly dominated by powerful rhythms and percussion instruments, added to the primal nature the show was designed to convey and helped draw those watching into the experience.

When the final stage of the progression had been completed, the house lights were brought up and Coleman announced each model?s name and presented them with a bouquet. As each model accepted their bouquet, they then made one final traversal of the catwalk, giving everyone an opportunity to see the artwork more clearly under bright lighting conditions.

Models not already mentioned were Birth (Rhoda Brown) and Metal (Micha Callan).

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