As Others See You

 

Cut Off, 39 x 29, charcoal and watercolor on paper, 2015

   

 

Fanny Brice Erased 

www.youtube.com/watch?v=vcBvrjcGKoc

stop motion animation, 1:42, 2015


The title of this body of work comes from a 1938 book, As Other’s See You: A History of Plastic Surgery, written by my great-grandfather. Charting his practice during the infancy of cosmetic surgery, this book was intended to promote the new field to the general public and describes his experimental procedures. He states, "Nature when imperfect is often very ugly and repellent. A thing cannot be beautiful and ugly." I focus on the inherent contradictions in his work: the necessity of precision versus the risk of invention, the power to heal versus the fostering of insecurity.


In 1923 Dr. Schireson performed a nose job on Ziegfield Follie’s star Fanny Brice in a hotel room in New York City. My stop-motion animation “Fanny Brice Erased” is based on their interaction and the media activity that surrounded the surgery. Time-based media allows me to capture the life of a single charcoal drawing on paper, and each one minute film consists of approximately 800 changes that occur to the drawing. Through animation I record forms being built, deconstructed, or reconstructed. In the end, the image is completely erased and I am left with a blank sheet of paper. The erasure of the drawing and of the figure speaks to the masking of identity and the violence of cosmetic surgery. No drawing on the paper survives this process; only the digital history is left.


Despite many innovative procedures, Schireson's history is dominated by scandal and his license was revoked two years before his death in 1949.   As a figurative artist I am fascinated by his surgical obsession with aesthetics of the head and body, yet I am repelled by accounts of individual patients who elected to have surgery under the pretense of false imperfections.

Group Cut, charcoal and watercolor on paper, 70x 54", 2014


 

A Raising, 80x26, oil on linen, 2012   


                  



White Coat, 72x50, oil on linen, 2012



Somewhere Between Blood and the Sky, 72x 96, oil on canvas, 2012




 

First Surgery, 68 x 52, oil on linen, 2011