Images of an infant’s face marked with a plastic surgeon’s pen and an elderly woman with wrinkled skin that glows green under the light of a tanning bed are just some of the deeply disturbing images that will be displayed at Gusford Gallery as part of Oliver Jones’s solo exhibition, “Love the Skin You’re In,” opening September 12.
The British artist draws these alarmingly realistic compositions with colored chalk, in an effort to highlight the ways in which media and the advertisement industry exploit images of flesh. With titles that are equally as provocative as the visual representations – the aforementioned works are titled Designer Baby and Three Steps to Younger Looking Skin Pt. 2 (the other two steps include a face mask and plastic surgery) – the viewer feels uncomfortable, as the images of beauty quick-fixes are all too familiar.
Gazing into the tear-stricken eyes of the chubby child, the viewer is moved to wish a different future for the next generation. A societal attitude of self-hatred emerges, and in the presence of these individuals, the viewer seeks to turn one’s attention both inward, to say yes, “I love the skin I’m in,” and also to speak out, to share and encourage proclamations of love and respect.
Oliver Jones’s “Love the Skin You’re In” will be on view at Gusford Gallery in Los Angeles September 12 through October 25.