Review by Gerhard Clausing •
Here’s a list of ingredients for an exciting project:
- A dynamic photographer with an understanding of modern art and an appreciation of the beauty of the human body (Wesley Channell)
- A visual artist with a love for body painting and an understanding of performance, sets, and backgrounds (Alexis Logwood)
- Talented models who are proud of their appearance and enthusiastic about participating in new conceptualizations
- A publisher who finds outstanding work and makes it available as a class act (Steven Albahari)
The result is the extraordinary art of Human Canvas.
Wesley Channell, who worked as a minister and counselor for many years, is free from the customary judgmental edicts of parochial belief systems that some others cling to. He sees the female body as something beautiful, with a right to exist apart from the “illicit and prurient” associations that society has projected onto it. After all, we all came into this world without clothes and without shame.
With a special appreciation for modern painting, Channell had the good fortune to find Alexis Logwood, a female artist who has as one of her specialties painting designs on people’s skin. This proved to be a fruitful association that resulted in a creative and appealing process of reinterpreting the contemporary nude, with inspiration from art trends of the past century.
The photographs are so dynamic, they practically jump out at you – they are totally captivating. The style is very much in the present, with influences from the past – there is a magical synchronicity to the presentation. The models, the designs, and the overall effects are in alignment, consistently providing the viewer with delightful surprises.
The artists that inspired these new interpretations range from the lyrical to the abstract. Thus on the one hand we see the influence of van Gogh, Monet, Klimt, Rivera and Kahlo, while the other end shows shades of Munch, Kandinsky, Magritte, Picasso, Dali, Pollock, and Warhol, among others. Insights about the work and its impact (and even about life itself!) are also provided by Wesley Channell and Steven Albahari in essays and quotes.
Since our customary double-page spread documentation does not do full justice to the impact of these images, I have included a few in a larger size at the end (in the order shown: Van Gogh, Monet, Klimt, Magritte, Pollock). The format of this photobook is generous in size, and the printing is first-class. Life-size prints of these works are stunning on gallery walls, as Douglas Stockdale and I were able to witness at the Photo LA exhibition by 21st Editions earlier this year. A deluxe edition of this photobook is also available.
Congratulations on this outstanding project; highly recommended!
Wesley Channell – Human Canvas
Photographer/Artist: Wesley Channell (born and lives in Atlanta, Georgia)
Artist, Body Painting: Alexis Logwood
Editor: Collier Brown
Publisher: Steven Albahari/21st Editions, South Dennis, Massachusetts, USA; © 2020
Essays: Introduction by Steven Albahari; texts and afterword by Wesley Channell
Hardcover, cloth-bound with tipped-in image; 166 pages; 25 x 31 cm (9 ¾ x 12 ¼ inches); printed by Suzanne Salinetti at Studley Press, Dalton, Massachusetts, USA
Photobook Designer: Greta Sibley