Personal signatures / by Jeannine Cook

For anyone, not just an artist, standing out from the crowd is increasingly difficult. Too many people, often crowded together in busy places, mostly wearing the same types of clothes, all buyers of the same consumer goods... No wonder artists need to dream up really unusual angles to get noticed and become successful. The same is true, really, of anyone trying to do anything, especially in the creative world.

An interesting commentary on the different ways people try to distinguish themselves in society is an exhibition now showing at La Salle University Art Museum in Philadelphia entitled Second Skin (www.lasalle.edu/museum/). The artist, Susan Moore, (http://www.susan-moore.com/) does drawings of people in faint charcoal, but then paints or draws in ink bold tattoos, burns or scars on these body images. She is highlighting how people are rebelling against our increasingly grey and uniform world by trying to distinguish themselves, to give themselves a clear identity, by using, for instance, tattoos. Moore also underscores the ironic fact that the more people use tattoos, themselves a real mish-mash of images taken from a wide variety of sources, the more they actually rejoin the common crowd from whom they were seeking to distinguish themselves. In fact, they are rather following the tribal practices of scarification on face or body to proclaim their membership of a tribe or group, submerging personal identity into that of a larger group. Susan Moore certainly found a thought-provoking theme for her exhibition of drawings, as well as a very skillful way to distinguish herself with her dramatic drawings.