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Accompanying Artist's Statement
I made Skinning Touching in the weeks and months after a one-night stand that decimated my heart. I feel in love so hard and so fast I wished that I could expel the memory of his touch from my body—like a demon. I stalked him on the internet for months until his memory had merged so deeply with his image that I began to imagine I was in love with my computer screen, pressing my fingers into the firm plastic until the image began to darken and distort. For all of the beautiful and terrible things it could bring me, it also provided distance, anonymity, and comfort. I began to make silhouetted drawings of his image, placing a piece of printer paper onto my computer screen in the deep dark of my bedroom and tracing the contours of his body, pulling it out of his world and into mine. I have drawn since I was a child but it has never been a pleasurable activity. It has always served some other purpose whether it is praise, attention, revenge, analysis, or to satiate some covetous impulse. In this case, drawing felt like a sacrament, a way to take images into my body: an outward sign of an inward grace. Gradually my obsessive longing turned toward other subjects: sheet ghosts, banana peels, surgical gloves, condoms, wrestling singlets, chest harnesses, ski masks. I wanted to draw surrogate skins, things that hold a body, things that reveal contours as they hide the skin, that are used to create distance during intimacy or intimacy through distance. The pieces are always shown as a series of digital prints and once these digital facsimiles are created, the original drawing is destroyed as a way of returning a wish to its digital well or as a kind of material exorcism as imperfect as desire itself.
Nic Wilson (he/they) is an artist and writer living and working on Treaty Four land in Regina, Saskatchewan. He is a graduate of the MFA program at the University of Regina where he was a SSHRC graduate fellow and a nominee for the President's Distinguished Graduate Student Award. They are the current Administrative Director of Neutral Ground Artist-Run Centre.
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