Fringe with Benefits – Review by Barbara Dooley

In a small but lovely “Fringe with Benefits” show at the Arts Asylums, five visual artists look at both male and female nudes through the perspective of “the female gaze.”

Ashley Boettcher’s beautiful series of nudes show the female form in poses of strength, grace, and agility while using aerial silks. The works began as ink drawings which Boettcher then scanned and transformed into 3-D images. The images were then transferred into a card stock in nylon plastic and finished. The smooth texture of the images suggests skin but the strength of the bodies is emphasized in this series of 10 images.

Leslie Norman Hubble, whose work often incorporates medical digital images, presents the female form in a set of three works which emphasize strength and balance. The coloring of some of the images suggests those of X-rays or CT scans. In “Consequences of Resistance,” both the strength and exhaustion of the body are evident.

Kathryn Krause, a two-time winner of the FringePrize, presents a series of both male and female nudes that give a nod to classical 19th c. tradition, with flowing curves and shapes. Yet the images have a distinctly contemporary feel with their cool palette and soft, blurry, sometimes indistinct faces.

Sandy Woodson’s series, ‘Family Jewels II: Shiny Objects,” decorates the male form in a series of intimate photographs. The images slyly point out that the human male, unlike the male in many other species, is not endowed with the brightest colors to attract females.

Sara Slaughter’s delicate work, part of her mini-series of a painting a day, seems at first glance to be a traditional exercise of painting the nude form. On closer look, however, the bodies show evidence of pain and trauma, yet the strength and beauty prevail.

“Fringe with Benefits” runs through August 4th when the Arts Asylum is open to the public. Take in a show and spend some time in this small but fascinating exhibit.