Ariana Page Russell: Blouse/ Ernesto Pujol: The Bathers, Revisited

October 21- November 19, 2011



Ariana Page Russell: Blouse

Magnan Metz is pleased to present Blouse, the third exhibition for Ariana Page Russell at the gallery since 2006. The installation features photographs, two videos, and wallpaper made from the artist’s skin tattoos. The exhibition will be on view from October 21 – November 19, 2011

Russell’s recent work continues to explore the possibilities of flesh, using her skin as both source material and an entry to go deeper into the body and its emotions. Images of Russell’s abdomen appear throughout the exhibit: covering the gallery window; in a photograph of her torso blanketed in triangular welts resembling raised sails; and as the temporary tattoo mask that she manipulates over her face in the video, Blouse. In this piece, she exhales sharply into the mask to produce a fleeting, gauzy window. A sudden inhale collapses the window to create a skin-tight barrier with each breath. Blouse comes to a close as Russell removes the tattoo, her unadorned face remaining interrogative but naked of the revelatory mask.

The skin is a porous surface, and challenges with it often have to do with personal boundaries. Russell has dermatographia, a condition in which her immune system exhibits hypersensitivity through the skin, causing painless, temporary welts that emerge when lightly scratched. The symptoms of dermatographia create a drama that plays on the skin, allowing Russell to address the aftermath of bodily contact—as evidenced by her video, Ruffle. She appears in three-quarter profile, opposite the viewer. A red, raised handprint gradually materializes on her exposed backside. The flesh offers evidence of a physical exchange, albeit unaccompanied by narrative or explanation. Her skin, while unable to disguise the inflicted mark, invokes the action that brought it to the surface. 

Russell’s depictions of the body allow her images to explore the free and fluid nature of sexuality, adornment and expression. The gallery’s front door is embellished with puckering lips. A wall with radiating nipples worked into a kaleidoscopic pattern is the backdrop for Gather, a photograph of Russell’s torso covered in the same temporary tattoo nipples. In Cord and Net, her legs are etched with welts that mimic the back seams and fishnet designs of hosiery. Here, adornment of the body is illusory as Russell creates a veritable screen that both springs from and protects the flesh.

Ariana Page Russell received her MFA from the University of Washington, Seattle in 2005 where she has since returned as a visiting lecturer.  Her first solo show with the gallery (Axial Bloom, 2006-07), was reviewed in Art in America.  During her second show, in 2008, Russell was featured on ABC News 20/20.  She was the recipient of the Artist Trust Grant for Artist Projects and Fellowship Award and has exhibited at numerous galleries internationally.  The artist currently lives and works in Brooklyn, New York. 

For information and visuals, please contact the gallery at 212.244.2344/



Ernesto Pujol: The Bathers, Revisited


Magnan Metz is pleased to present The Bathers, Revisited.  This small exhibition will be on view from October 21 – November 19, 2011.  Pujol recently joined Magnan Metz.  As an introduction to his performance work, the artist is a restaging a selection of performative photographs in Magnan Metz project space from his successful 2001 series.  The Bathers are revisited a decade later, and is a curatorial compliment to the exhibition of Ariana Page Russell which will run concurrently in the main gallery.


During summer 2001, Ernesto Pujol photographed the solitary rituals of masculinity, i.e. male bodies privately regarding themselves. Pujol choreographed a series of intimate gestures, inviting three men in their 20s, 30s and 40s to perform in the same white bathroom. These were not larger-than-life porn stars relaxing after the money shot, nor towering drag queens wiping off makeup. There was nothing extraordinary about them, no tanned musculature or model beauty. Pujol was interested in exploring the male gaze turned on itself, placing men in the position traditionally inhabited by women in the history of painting. The Bathers, as Pujol entitled this performative photography project, was inspired by historical paintings of women bathers, particularly the French Impressionists, restaged from a queer feminist perspective through contemporary fashion advertising. The C-Prints were later exhibited in a warehouse in Williamsburg as a salon-style installation across two walls. Viewers followed the men from frame to frame like film stills. A silent body entered, regarded himself, motioned, aged, mourned, and exited. We revisit 15 of the original 21 prints a decade later. There is an austere sensuality in Pujol’s monochromatic subtle palette. The gestures range from the temporary to the timeless; the human body is both immortal in its form and ephemeral in its subjectivity. Pujol’s soft-lens holds a fine balance between classical forms and contemporary media images.


Ernesto Pujol is a site-specific performance artist and social choreographer. Pujol describes himself as an American portrait painter, in terms of cultural portraiture of peoples and landscapes. The artist has an MFA in interdisciplinary art practice from The School of The Art Institute of Chicago. He currently teaches at Parsons The New School.


For information and visuals, please contact the gallery at 212.244.2344/