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Wednesday, January 26,2011

Looking beyond looks

Kimberly Lavon’s prints examine social stigmas

by Alyssa Gienapp

 

A giraffe isn’t worried about how many spots it has, or how long its neck is — so why do humans have so many social constraints?

Kimberly Lavon, a Mason printmaker, uses her prints to challenge what we’ve learned and to say that it’s OK to be unusual.


Lavon is this month’s featured artist at Katalyst Art Gallery in Old Town.


Lavon’s print collections, “Skeleton Society” and “Animalesque — A Social Commentary,” both touch on the social constraints put on us every day.


One of the pieces in “Animalesque” shows a pig with a rack of clothes behind it.


“If you think someone is fat you call them a pig or cow,” said the 29-year-old Lavon. “But an actual pig isn’t worried about fitting into clothes.”


Another piece in the “Animalesque” collection dives into the tricky subject of racism. It depicts a zebra but, as Lavon comments, is it black with white stripes, or white with black stripes?


The piece that started the “Animalesque” collection is a yellow duck on top of a small piece of earth that looks freshly torn out of the ground.


“A big relationship ended,” Lavon said.


“The duck sort of symbolizes me, so my ex threw away all the duck stuff. He removed me by removing the ducks.


“It also goes along with the oil spills and how the animals were displaced from their homes.”


Similar to the zebra print “Skeleton Society” is all about racism, Lavon said, adding that without muscles or skin we wouldn’t be able to tell the differences between people.


The various prints of the different pieces of a skeleton all represent concepts about society and the social constraints people have put on themselves or imposed upon each other.


“The red one represents diseases, like AIDS or cancer,” Lavon said. “But you can’t tell a person is sick by looking at them.”


The purple pieces represent the glamorizing of models and looks, the admiring of the 70-pound model, Lavon said, who oftentimes doesn’t even look good.


Each piece takes weeks to make. The “Animalesque” collection was created entirely by hand, so each print would be just a little bit different.


Lavon also has a show at (SCENE) Metrospace in June in which people will be able to make prints alongside her, turning the gallery into an assembly line.


’Skeleton Society’ and ’Animalesque — A Social Commentary’


Art
by Kimberly Lavon


Katalyst Gallery 1214 Turner St, Lansing


10 a.m.-7
p.m. Monday through Friday; 10 a.m.-7:15 p.m. Saturday; noon-5 p.m.
Sunday (517) 708-8916


twitter.com/kimberlylavon


www.facebook.com/#!/KimberlyLavonArtist

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