Fashion Photographer Erez Sabag Dazzles with GORGIALITY, A Spring Rainbow of Bright, Inclusive Beauty during Skin Cancer Awareness Month
World-class fashion photographer Erez Sabag lights up the Robert Miller Gallery in Chelsea, NYC with Gorgiality, a multimedia exhibition that illuminates the beauty of inclusivity and supports the Look Good Feel Better Foundation during Skin Cancer Awareness Month.
Erez Sabag coined the word “gorgiality” on set to express the beauty he sees in individuality. “Real beauty,” he says, “is an intangible quality that defies definition, boundaries, and standards and which ultimately asks people to be themselves.”
For Gorgiality, a multimedia exhibition, he collaborated with makeup artist Georgina Billington and creative director David Warren. A signature Sabag short film shares a kaleidoscope-esque glimpse into the synergy of their collaboration. Together, the creative team and sixteen models explode the notion of an ideal, singular standard of beauty.
What might, in some spreads be covered up, concealed — “Imperfections,” Sabag says, his fingernails painted gunmetal black curling into air quotes— were highlighted, in order to “expand the definition of what gorgeous can be,” notes Warren in the foreword of the black suede covered catalogue that accompanies the exhibition.
In a small front gallery, the models are bare-skinned in fresh-faced headshots that are simply clipped to the wall. The portraits reveal skin tones in every shade of sepia. Alyona, Ebonee, Leaf, Maeve, Natalia, Sabina and others are the living art upon which makeup and styling, and then production and installation serve to spotlight.
A portrait of Natalia with open lips, the color of a freshly split cherry, encapsulates the exhibition. She is wearing a white linen painter's jacket with a color-by-number pattern drawn on. A similar pattern crosses her cheeks and brow in black liquid liner; a matte white stripe across her lashes swoop upward. She models the experimentation of this collaboration and how the Gorgiality collection uses “makeup to explore and reinforce our identity” and, also by refusing to adhere to black and white standards or to dictated schematics, they “open up the narrative of our aesthetic universe.” The colors of Gorgiality spread throughout the galleries like spring rainbow across a clearing sky.
Red lips greet. At 60x90 inches, Maeve’s mouth (below) holds a tiny figurine of a man with a push broom. He labors to mop on burgundy wine colored lip gloss, as if he were plastering up a larger-than-life billboard. Her teeth are his scaffolding in the C-print front mount plexiglass edition of three.
Orange brushstrokes, a queen’s war paint on a woman named Genesis (below), commands a far gallery wall in a mounted portrait. Wearing a regal copper neckpiece, she licks grandly, victoriously.
Sabina’s freckles glow in hues of rose to peach (top photo). Flecks of metallic leafing illuminate the bridge of her nose, her brow. The accent was added during the photo shoot and then again on the exhibition Baryta Photo Rag Print that is bare, hung un-mounted at 90x60-inches, in which she glimmers in her edition of one.
Yellow emoji faces with grins painted around nipples for noses answers the question posed on the nearby wall, “Can we be cheeky and brave at the same time?”
Painted stick figures, with surreal eyeballs for heads, hold daisies and run across the spring green grass. The lovers leap over a heart-shaped smile.
Cobalt netting stretches across Ebonee’s chin (below). Her halo of hair blows out of the plexiglass mounting and onto the white gallery walls. Her dark eyes are luminous with sky-blue shadow deepening to lavender to violet to plum.
At the end of this rainbow, there is a real pot of gold. All proceeds from this exhibition, showing through Skin Cancer Awareness Month, benefit the Look Good Feel Better Foundation, an organization that has helped cancer survivors cope with the impact of treatment on their appearance since 1989.
For more information on how to take care of your skin this Skin Cancer Awareness Month, visit the American Academy of Dermatology.
GORGIALITY is showing at The Robert Miller Gallery through June 3, 2017. The exhibition’s limited-edition catalogue and selected prints are available online at Gorgiality.com.
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Amy Deneson is a writer in New York. Her essays have also appeared in The New York Times Modern Love column, The Toast, Salon, The Observer, and Curve magazine, among others. She has recently completed a memoir about growing out of the purity culture. Follow her on amydeneson.com.