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Body Talk Series  

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California, USA | Photographs, Resin | 20"W x 24"H x 2"D | 2004

Overview

Playful, ironic, and challenging, Huether’s Body Talk Series uses the subject of his own body a source of inspiration. Following in a tradition practiced by Rembrandt, Van Gogh, and Frida Kahlo, among countless others, Huether adopts his own slant on the idea of self-portraiture. Taking our common use of slang expressions referencing the body – “all ears,” “evil eye,” “I’m armed,” etc. – as a point of departure, he uses tightly cropped, close-up photos of body parts to draw awareness to our shared conventions, play with language, and create images which suggest a rather uniquely detached frame of reference to his own body. Each image is bathed in a tint of bright color, the photograph then bonded to distressed metal, the title scrawled on, then baked in a shimmering coat of resin. In Evil Eye, we have a horizontal slice of Huether’s face, highlighting a section from nose to deeply furrowed brow. Heavily shadowed, beady red eyes glower in an image tinted electric blue.

Flexing to reveal a bulging bicep, his body becomes a metaphor for a weapon in the orange-hued I’m Armed. Frontal and rear, often highlighting a single feature, like an ear or bellybutton, Huether displays a complete lack of self-consciousness as he takes the viewer on a guided tour of his anatomy. With their tight cropping and subjective colors, the figurative references become abstracted, somehow symbols of themselves.

These images have an obsessive, disturbing quality which may bring to mind the work of Greek-American artist Lucas Samaras, whose confrontational and unrelenting self-portraits have brought him international notoriety. They also share some of the brash, offhand energy of Andy Warhol’s portraits, often shot with Polaroids or even in dime store photo booths, to give a feeling of immediacy and informality to them; one may also sense a kinship to Warhol in the use of bright, Pop colors, along with the faux-naïf insistence of the titles.
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