Skinside Out

There’s a lot of epidermis showing this month at Lisa Sette Gallery, as two artists take radically different approaches to exploring the body’s largest organ.

Mexico-born creative type Claudio Dicochea uses casta – a tradition of 18th century paintings that recorded the racial mixing of Colonial Mexico – as the backdrop for his busy, humorous, collage-like works. In one piece, he pairs Queen Elizabeth with Sitting Bull. In another, Arnold Schwarzenegger is a little girl. Now that’s some screwed-up genealogy.

The gallery’s accompanying artist, Ariana Page Russell, has a skin condition called dermotographia in which she blushes, flushes, and welts when lightly scratched. She “draws” on her sensitive skin and photographs the hauntingly intimate and weirdly pretty layers of flesh in all its degrees of blush. Russell even transforms her patterns into temporary tattoos and wallpaper.

Tuesdays-Saturdays. Starts: March 5. Continues through March 27, 2010