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Monday, October 02, 2023 — Houston, TX

Matchbox hosts new work

By Farrah Madanay     11/1/11 7:00pm

Tucked below Rice University's Sewall Hall, in room 258, is the Matchbox Gallery, a student-run exhibition space. Currently on view is "Removal: Cloth" by Baker College senior Christine Cooper, the first installment of a two part photographic series, which transitions to "Removal: Skin" by Claudia Casbarian on Nov. 10. The removal of key elements pertaining to the human body is the overall motif for the series.

"We realized that in our bodies of work, the commonality was removing context from photographs related to people," Cooper said. "Mine are zoomed in and generally lacking cloth, while Claudia's ‘Removal: Skin' are pictures of clothing without humans in them."

Cooper and Casbarian, a McMurtry College senior, are both Visual and Performing Arts majors. This photographic series marks their first showing in the Matchbox Gallery.

"It means a lot to have this opportunity," Casbarian said. "I can tell how much I've grown in photography after three and a half years here and I'm glad to get to share my work."

Cooper's current installation includes seven black and white prints hanging on three walls of the exhibition space, with an accompanying book of photos on a pedestal in the center.

"I took all of the photos over the course of a semester, and then I spent about a week to a week and a half printing and hanging it," Cooper said.

Cooper's photos engage the human body. In one print, Cooper captures a finger's detailed ridgelines. Other prints are so zoomed in, the body part becomes ambiguous. Cooper hopes to inspire a deeper understanding of the human body as an art form.

The upcoming, second installation of the series is Casbarian's "Removal: Skin," which focuses on the gestural element of clothes, devoid of the human body. Casbarian's work comes from the same photography class Cooper took last semester, taught by Geoff Winningham.

"It will be a photography exhibition chronicling 84 days of outfits I wore in the spring of this year and turned into a photo book. The exhibition will also include detail shots of some of my articles of clothing," Casbarian said of her installment.

Casbarian's dual love of fashion and photography motivated "Removal: Skin." Through this installation, Casbarian aspires not only to convey her own love of style, but also to encourage a heightened sense style in the gallery audience.

"I hope to show spectators my interest in personal style, so that maybe they will be inspired to explore their own style," Casbarian said.

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