Karen Black, Nick Modrzewski, and Tom Polo in Thin Skin at MUMA

2 Aug 2023

Karen Black, Nick Modrzewski, and Tom Polo are among the thirty-six artists featuring works in Thin Skin, an exhibition of contemporary and historical paintings by Australian and international artists who explore the liminal space between figuration and abstraction, guest curated by Australian, London-based writer, curator and former editor of frieze magazine, Jennifer Higgie and hosted at Monash University Museum of Art (MUMA).

In the realm of artistic expression, the term “thin skin” assumes a multifaceted and delightfully ambiguous nature. The exhibition, aptly titled Thin Skin, not only delves into the fragile membrane that separates body, mind, and environment but also ventures into other frontiers: the thresholds that exist between reason and unreason, wisdom and foolishness, life and death, consciousness and the unconscious, as well as laughter and weeping.

Within the realm of the exhibition, the artists employ tools of absurdity, slapstick, parody, caricature, and dreamlike logic to explore their inner selves and their place within the broader world. Their works serve as vibrant depictions of bodies engaged in intricate dialogues with the psyche, the natural landscape, domestic and work environments, and the animal kingdom, all woven together in rich and thought-provoking works. 

The show is accompanied by an auditory experience created by Australian musicians Suzie Higgie and Tim Oxley. This soundscape directly interacts with the artworks, themes, and curatorial aspects of the exhibition. Furthermore, a comprehensive catalog will be available, showcasing fully illustrated catalogue containing fresh writings by Jennifer Higgie and Chloe Aridjis, an acclaimed Mexican-American novelist and writer. This catalog will be co-published by MUMA and Monash University Publishing and will be officially released during the exhibition’s opening event

The artists’ works in Thin Skin will be on view at MUMA until 23 September 2023.

Images: Installation view of Thin Skin, (R) Karen Black, My head is a mountain my heart is a sea, 2019, private collection, Naarm/Melbourne, 2023; Beside (L) Rose Wylie, Wet Concrete and Thin Paint, 2022. Courtesy of the artist and David Zwirner. Photographed by Christian Capurro.