'Art Show/Model Show'

Paper Chairs stages a life drawing session in which those who pose speak out about what they do

Austin models painted by Karen Maness
Austin models painted by Karen Maness

For people who spend so much time exposed, artists' models are, for the most part, invisible. Their names rarely make it into the art history books, and when they're on the clock, they have to be still and, generally, silent. And yet these anonymous figures are essential in the artist's process, they must exhibit their own discipline and gestural character in taking and maintaining poses, and they have to be willing to lay themselves bare – often literally – and allow their every curve and imperfection to be scrutinized and reproduced by others. Surely they have something to say about all this?

As it turns out, yes. And thanks to the theatre artists of the company Paper Chairs – several of whom also work as artists' models – audiences will have the chance to hear it. Art Show/Model Show is a multimedia performance rooted in an actual life drawing session, where models pose – mostly nude – and local visual artists sketch and paint them. As the audience, we're given access to this typically private experience – voyeurism being a deliberate component of the show – and as we watch, we hear models and artists talk about their experiences with one another through filmed and audio interviews. Kelli Bland and Meghan Morongova, who conceived of and co-direct the show, have, ahem, drawn on such gifted artists as Jennifer Balkan, Chris Chappell, Steve Dubov, Dave Larson, Eve Larson, Karen Maness, David Ohlerking, and Heather Tolleson to discuss the significance of the model and the artist-model relationship, as well as provide artwork created with models such as Morongova, Bland, Jen Brown, Michelle Keffer, and Jorge Sermini – artwork that will be categorized by model, so viewers may see the same individual's features and figure interpreted in diverse ways. It's safe to say you may never look at an artist's model the same way again.

Art Show/Model Show runs Aug. 29-Sept. 14, Thursday-Saturday & Sunday, Sept. 8, 8pm, at The Off Shoot, 2211 Hidalgo. For more information, visit www.paperchairs.com.

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Art Show / Model Show, Austin theatre, Paper Chairs, Kelli Bland, Meghan Morongova, Jen Brown, Michelle Keffer, Jorge Sermini, Jennifer Balkan, Karen Maness, David Ohlerking, Steve Dubov

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