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The Scarlet & Black

The Scarlet & Black

“Skin prints” leave their mark in Smith

Bernard’s prints on display in Smith Gallery. Photo by Sydney Steinle
Bernard’s prints on display in Smith Gallery. Photo by Sydney Steinle
Bernard’s prints on display in Smith Gallery. Photo by Sydney Steinle

Studio art and political science double major Hannah Bernard ’15 unveiled her exhibit, “Skin Prints,” in Smith Gallery last Monday, Feb. 2. The selection of works begins with a description stating that “these are all self-portraits” and continues with a series of body prints done with acrylic paints on various surfaces, including the Smith Gallery wall space, various types of paper and even a few issues of The Scarlet & Black. For each work, she covered a part of her body in paint, including her face, ears and belly, and pressed herself against different surfaces. Some of the works involve multiple pieces of paper hung next to each other to give the impression of a life-sized painted figure.

For many of the smaller prints, Bernard used spare paper she had from old projects. Others made use of different surfaces, including an issue of The S&B featuring the headline “Iowa Goes Red in Midterm Elections” supplemented, by Bernard, with “Bad News for P*ssies in Iowa” in red paint next to a red print of Bernard’s pelvis.

“I was just super angry that Iowa went red in the last election,” Bernard said.

Other prints are more experimental. “I just thought, ‘This would look nice’ or, ‘Let’s see what this will do on this kind of paper,’” Bernard said.

One of the works, “Two Party System,” features Bernard’s body in red paint and a print of Jack Dunnington ’16 in blue paint. Bernard credits Dunnington, who is currently studying abroad in London, with the idea.

Smith Gallery - Sydney Steinle
Photo by Sydney Steinle

Though the works on display are experimental art pieces, according to Bernard, she is not sure the pieces in her show have a large effect on her artistic development beyond solidifying her interest in printmaking.

“When I took the printmaking course, I just realized that this is a medium I really understand,” she said.

The exhibit started out as a project Bernard worked on in her printmaking art class with Professor Matthew Kluber, Art. She continued working on the prints in a seminar with Professor Andrew Kaufman, Art, in which she requested his mentorship and advice.

“He gave me a whole range of suggestions that definitely helped me clear up why I was interested in them,” Bernard.

According to Bernard, Kaufman watched the exhibit develop and gave Bernard helpful comments that guided her in different directions. Kaufman also served as Bernard’s official faculty mentor for featuring her work in Smith Gallery.

In “Skin Prints,” Bernard said she wanted to play with the idea that though these prints do not bear an obvious resemblance to her, they may represent a more realistic self-portrait, and in some ways, not.

“I hope people seeing the exhibit also remember our bodies and remember their uses are more than what we use them for, especially in art,” Bernard said.

Bernard’s exhibit will run until Thursday, Feb. 12 with a closing reception at 4:15 p.m.

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