by Megan Schipp / Assistant A&E Editor
Captured within the layers of mirrored images in store front windows, artist Slawek’s “Reflections: All About Sex” displays photographs far from the present day perception of sex. The pictures freeze the rooting of the term as it’s defined in different stages of life, telling a story about the growth from girl to woman.
“Let us look together from the point of view of a young girl as she progresses to womanhood,” Slawek said on his website. “Creatively defining the meaning of the word “sex” in a young woman’s life.”
Slawek’s exhibit begins with “All About Sex 1: Beauty” in which a young girl is caught adolescently sticking her tongue out at the camera. The works are numbered, but they are not followed in order. Slawek illustrates the girl’s development as he captures the first tests of self-exploration, such as tobacco use, in photographs seven and eight. Soon, she’s buying her first dress, getting her first job and attending her first dance. The observer grows up with the female character.
“Angel in Blue” marks the end of adolescene when the girl enters, for some, life’s next phase: sex, drugs and rock ‘n’roll. A feeling of unease takes over while the character begins to lose control in “Ecstasy.”
With a mirrored image of what could be a brick apartment building in the photo, one may begin to understand the emotions behind the girl’s hidden eyes covered by disheveled blonde hair, given away only by the exhausted expression on her lips. Toying with creativity, Slawek presents stages of sexual “obsession” and “desire,” as well as possible homosexual activity in his ongoing attempt to define “sex.”
The soap opera continues as the girl reveals her sensual curves while slowly undressing herself by a window in “Being Framed.” A white house built along the side of a road is reflected in the picture, giving viewers the feeling of witnessing the affair firsthand. The girl-to-woman gap comes to an end when the character finds herself in “Her Style” and prepares for the next stage of her life in “Wife.” Here the reflections dive deep into the woman’s mind. The photograph displays a well-dressed mannequin standing in front of a seductive poster in a store window. Peering out into the street, the advertisement’s model proves money can buy love as her eyes lust after the BRINKS armored vehicle, stopped within the window’s view. Slawek is known most for his passion to mix the new with the old, something that recently caused a disagreement in a Zionsville art gallery. Gallery Board members removed the word “sex” from his exhibits.
“Men have given this great discovery a childish association with pornography,” Slawek said. But the exhibit was far from that.
“I loved the exhibit’s story,” junior Tara Harworth said. “At first glance you don’t always notice the hidden ‘sex’ aspects of the picture. But once you look into the layers, you begin to understand the story behind it. Sexual references have been used in art for forever.
I just saw it as part of the art.”