Victoria Bartlett Goes Skin Deep

Published June 1, 2012

British designer Victoria Bartlett has never shied away from exploring the intricacies of the human body. After all, her CFDA-nominated RTW line VPL was originally founded with the desire to bridge the gap between lingerie and sportswear, employing nude tones, ample cut-outs and curve-hugging latex and jersey to draw attention to the subtle movements of the female figure. Her latest endeavor, a group exhibition at her store and studio on Mercer Street and accompanying art book co-curated by INPUT’s Renee Vara, examines this theme of embracing body consciousness in medium-spanning form, with pieces by 15 well-known artists, including David Armstrong, Adam McEwen, Jack Pierson, taking on the topic.

“All of the artists are somewhat related to me—through working relationships, knowing them personally, or just through work that I’ve loved and integrated into my referencing and my love of the body,” explains Bartlett of the familiar group she assembled for Second Skin. “And I looked for a big variety in the mediums and types of interpretations of the work as I worked with them.”

This desire for diverse approaches to “second skin” meant emotionally-charged, text-based pieces for some (John Giorno’s “I would crawl”), more material-reliant, sensory explorations for others (Mark Borthwick’s plant and flower-covered poem collage), and in the case of sculptor Sarah Lucus, a physically-imposing, almost comically erotic work featuring an underwear and stocking-outfitted pile of limbs and genitalia.

The show will be on view until July 31.