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Museum of Contemporary Art re-opens after winter hiatus

Amanda Wachob gave live tattoo demostrations at the exhibit’s opening.
Photo: Genessa Gutzait · The Sentry

Tattoo This exhibit is uninspiring

The Museum of Contemporary Art (MCA) has just opened their three newest exhibits on Feb. 15 after the January closure of Tara Donovan’s Fieldwork. The newly opened exhibitions consist of Aftereffect from Georgia O’Keeffe and other contemporary painters, Andrew Jensdotter’s Flak, and Tattoo This by Amanda Wachob.

Tattoo This showcases Wachob’s “unique tattoo style incorporating brushstrokes, washes, paint splatters, and spills, commonly referred to as ‘watercolor technique.’” While Tattoo This is unique in medium to the other collections throughout the museum, the art itself in most of the exhibit is lackluster and monotonous.

Viewers are first greeted by Tattoo This directly after entering the museum; however, what museumgoers walk into is stale. Wachob is certainly talented with a tattoo gun; however, the way in which her art is presented in the first gallery is mundane—a few photos of Wachob’s previous tattoo work make for a dull entry.

Perhaps the most interesting part of the entrance room to Tattoo This is the story of how Wachob began tattooing. One photo featured in the exhibit titled, “Tattoos on Margaret,” highlights Wachob’s “2008 breakthrough into abstraction… [which] began with her work on Margaret McGeachy, a college professor, who allowed Wachob to freehand washes of color onto her skin.”

Around the corner from the entrance, viewers see an outlandish sight. The same white walls used to showcase the art are spotted with a yellow border around the small room—separate to the rest of the exhibit. Wachob’s room of tattooed lemons that she first began using to practice her craft are a sight to behold from afar, but a closer look produces an unfortunately unfulfilling piece of work.

The lemons are interesting at first sight, but as viewers walk around the room and find analogous floral designs tattooed onto the porous, yellow skin in blue ink, they are evoked with an emotion of monotony rather than wonderment.

The final two rooms of Tattoo This are the most intriguing and adhere to more expected pieces of work placed in the MCA.

The third of the four rooms feature more contemporary painting-inspired pieces. To create these pieces, Wachob utilizes tattoo ink “between sheets of paper and pulls them apart to create fluid, organic designs.” The results are photographed.

Wachob draws from a process named Decalcomania that “was popular with early twentieth-century surrealist artists, who were interested in undermining human intention in making images.” Wachob’s result is elegantly dark, orchid-like “watercolor” paintings that are visually appealing and exciting to the eye.

The final room, similar to the first, showcases Wachob’s immense skill in her craft of tattooing but presents it in a more visually intriguing way than photographs of her work. Wachob’s medium in the final room spotlights tattooing on leather rather than human skin. Wachob emulates her “watercolor” style with black and white tattoo ink on varying colored leather canvases via a tattoo machine.

Tattoo This is interesting in description and narrative; however, half of the exhibit is unexciting in presenting Wachob’s talent in her craft.


Tattoo This
On display through May 26

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