Institute 193 (1B) 292 East Third Street, 1B New York, NY 10009
Aaron Michael Skolnick: Your Voice Lying Gently In My Ear November 6 – December 20, 2019
Aaron Michael Skolnick, an artist born and raised in Kentucky, relocated to Hudson, New York in the summer of 2018 for both personal and professional reasons. Before moving, he had spent several years taking care of his late husband, an artist and occasional collaborator who had been diagnosed with ALS. The experience fundamentally changed the nature of their relationship, requiring Skolnick to focus his attention on the immediate and constant needs of his partner who was forty years his senior. With limited time to spend outside of their shared home, Skolnick drew and painted over one hundred portraits of his husband in various positions, mostly seated or lying in bed. Made at the encouragement of his partner, the portraits were testaments to love and patience but also to longing and suffering.
Slightly more than two years later, Skolnick has found a new subject for his portraits, turning the brush on himself and a recent love interest. The resulting works are brighter and looser, eschewing fate and inevitability, in favor of promise and growth. Nude bodies, flowers, and close-up renderings of the male anatomy, viewed together, illustrate a complex story of the reclamation of the artist’s sexuality and portend a new beginning for him in both love and the larger machinations of the world.
Skolnick’s images are painted from photos, videos, screenshots, Polaroids, or expanded from drawings made in intimate moments. Teetering between reflection and anticipation, the paintings feel like softened but meditative snapshots in a world where seemingly every instant is captured only to be sent, viewed, and almost immediately discarded. These paintings, mostly rendered in oil on linen, are more permanent versions of that experience—of fleeting moments rendered with a deep expectation of the next.
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