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The skin is the most extensive organ of our body and through which we experience in a tangible way the world that surrounds us. The environment has always been stronger than people, not only in reference to climate but to all the social and cultural environments that permeate us as individuals, that is why for hundreds of years we have seen the need to cover our sense broader in various ways to deal with environmental shocks. American artist Alayna Coverly explores through her work the presence and absence of emotional bonds that are spun between people.
Coverly portrays fragments of human bodies partially or entirely covered with pieces of cloth, elaborating a pictorial discourse on different emotions, sensations, and feelings that we experience individually and collectively. Despite the delicacy of the fabrics that Alayna represents that adhere to bodies like fine silks, the human elements are shown with total ambiguity about their identity, which makes Alayna’s discourse even more elevated because it extrapolates her graphic dissertation to a fully human context without any kind of distinction.
“Even though my paintings are changing and growing, the idea of connection and disconnection, or push and pull, is always present in my work. That’s why I choose to create paintings that have roots in stylistic realism. I want people that view my work to be able to make their own connections to it, and I want to achieve that in a way a photograph couldn’t.”
In most of her pieces, the individual almost merges with the bottom if not for the wrinkled texture of the fabric that covers it, making us aware of the paradox so common that is present today, where the subject protects itself same with a series of artificial and alien elements in search of individuality, yet ends up submerging in a sea of beings that seek individuality through the same artificial mechanisms, unifying in a single monotonous block.
Defeated bodies, censored faces, and hands that seek each other without being able to meet are the recurrent elements that speak of the abysses that separate us from the other when we cover our human honesty with second furs that do not belong to us, and rather than protect us, distance from one another.
The delicacy of the oil-on-canvas strokes with which Coverly makes her pieces are a definite feature of her style. Alayna achieves lighting and texture of almost photographic quality, which added to the large format of her pieces, can be overwhelming for the spectator, both pictorially and discursively.