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Stephanie Voegele

Stephanie Voegele

“Skin lacks definite boundaries, flowing continuously from the exposed surfaces of the body to its internal cavities.”

-Ellen Lupton

curator at Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum

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My current research investigates intersections between the human body and the adornment on its surface. Seemingly similar in function, skin, jewelry, and clothing both reveal even as they conceal, seduce, and repulse. What we place upon our body becomes a part of our being, another external layer of our manipulation. These layers are constantly transitioning between the external and internal. It's in this dichotomy where my interest lies.

This work merges the grotesque and the elegant, using pearls as an indicator of purity, vanity, social class, and beauty. By layering this traditional ornament in a contemporary material such as silicone rubber, the pearl necklace becomes a part of the body — both beauty and imperfection, both skin and adornment.

While jewelry creates a second skin, garments also function as layers between our physical and perceived bodies. Just as skin flows continuously over our contours, clothing becomes an extension of the body. In this work, the edge both peels away and merges with the body, blurring what is natural and man-made.

Through juxtapositions of the beautiful and the repulsive, the perfect and the imperfect, this work creates tension between our surfaces and ourselves. Through the observable layers that envelop our bodies, we exhibit visual indicators to others within our culture. The border between body and embellishment thus becomes blurred and our skin becomes the adornment.

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Stephanie Voegele

was born in Eau Claire, Wisconsin. She currently resides in Richmond, Virginia as a 2011 Fountainhead Fellow teaching Jewelry and Metals in the Craft in Material Studies Department at Virginia Commonwealth University.

Sean Mahan

Sean Mahan

Andy DuCett

Andy DuCett