From the introduction to the exhibition titled, "In the Dermisphere"by Stephen Nowlin, Director, Alyce de Roulet Williamson Gallery. Artist Peter Liashkov's Synskin works were a part of the exhibition.
" All species are united in their possession of an outer layer- a covering that is often curious and many times nearly miraculous in the myriad ways it has evolved. As humans, skin is central to out identity, and its status helps define and shape our cultural environment. We tend to regard skin largely as a symbol, emblematic of a person's are, vitality, lifestyle, social status or beauty. Skin degradation or diseases are feared as much for their interference with this symbolism as for their threats to health, and their reminders of eventual mortality. Because they are immersed in the social meaning and consequences associated with skin, humans can become distracted from the influence of an equally meaningful biological perspective; that we and our skins define one organism in a remarkable garden of organisms, a deep and richly extended family of living things with which we share much in common, and from which our social views should, ultimately, be illuminated.'
'But we are special among the living, or so we like to think. Special in the sense of feeling chosen, one result of which is that we can be misled into assigning human meanings and impacts to otherwise independent phenomena. The ancients did this, wrongly interpreting the movement of stars, the vagaries of weather or occurrences of natural disasters as being human-centered. And today human-centrism persists, even in more enlightened societies, where the hue of human skin or the changes it undergoes through aging have real social reverberations, as well as the power to deflect behavior in certain directions. Never mind the skin color is a result of balancing melanin levels, UV exposure and vitamin D production over eons of evolution, or that an increasing number of wrinkles in our skin signals the inevitable interplay of genes and the environment over time. Such causes mostly reach the surface of human culture as effects transformed into social cues, status judgments and, too often, prejudices. Sometimes we get caught up in the sweep of social effect and impose the judgments on ourselves, as well as others. Of course when it come to different species we don't care if the skin of one water buffalo, and we likely can't tell if the skin of one elephant is a fe years more wrinkled than another its age, but for fellow humans these qualities are reason enough to pronounce a broad array of judgments. Within our own realm, biological skin differences can grow to be socially momentous. '
'The art and artifacts in this exhibition all represent skin as an outer covering- the dermisphere. This dermishere is commonplace, yet remarkable in its diversity. It is multicolored, malleable, cushioned, protective and thermostatic. In the dermishere, the persistence of social perspectives is undermined by the influence of biological realities. In the dermisphere, the persistence of social perspectives is undermined by the influence of biological realities. In the dermisphere, we're not burdened by being chosen- we're just unique."
Author Stephen Nowlin
Director, Alyce de Roulet Williamson Gallery