Beauty Concealed

Beauty Concealed

July 4, 2008 – July 25, 2008

by Cat Montégut and Grace Rim
Curated by Robert C. Morgan

Born in French-occupied Algeria in the early fifties, Cat represents a cross-cultural point of view regarding beauty and femininity. As an artist, her work emphasizes concealment as the true representation of dignity. Feminine beauty is not within the realm of the obvious. How a woman conceals herself is the most alluring aspect of her nature, the most subtle nuance by which to express her beauty. Cat believes that feminine dignity is something erotically imagined. In her words: Traditional conservatism or orthodox values are mostly worn with dignity and do not impede the freedom of an erotic imagination or feeling. Women behind the chador are as attractive as women in other cultures. Their veil expressing adherence surrounds them with an additional mystical charisma. The Middle East, including North Africa offers a distinct conceptual difference of feminine beauty from the way beauty is expressed through outward manifestations in the West.

While East Asian women express another point of view, depending on the specific culture, the adherence to privacy and respect is equal in many ways to women in the Middle East. The Korean-born artist Grace Rim is interested in the meditation process of wish fulfillment. This is expressed through drawing circles within a linear continuous sequence. Each small circle is a representation of inner harmony from which the true nature of beauty resides. The outward manifestation of beauty is the result of an inner-harmony, the balance between a mental and physical awareness of beauty. For example, the feminine manifestation of beauty in Kwannon, the androgynous Bodhisattva, transforms the energy of the worshipper in order to fulfill the Dharma of existence.

Cat and Grace Rim have known and respected each other’s work for many years. This exhibition reveals a comparison of two concepts of feminine beauty as experienced in two cultures. In either case, the source of beauty emanates from within. The internal temporality of Eros may be significant and therefore more powerful than the public desire to reveal itself. This offers a challenge to the Western idea that feminine beauty depends on the allure of fashion and glamour. -Robert C. Morgan, Curator

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