review

Charise Isis
The Boudoir Project

Ulster Publishing - The Almanac - January 3, 2008


ODALISQUE THROUGH A WOMAN'S EYE by Paul Smart

Charise Isis' "Boudoir Project Opens This Saturday at Woodstock's Galerie BMG

…The Boudoir portraits that Isis shoots, photographed using various props and costume accessories in the artist's own Victorianized Kingston home, are designed as a" a gift to someone they love or as a gift to themselves". The idea is to capture a subject's "private sanctuary; not a physical sanctuary, but one that exists somewhere within us; that which we often keep to ourselves or share only in intimate relationships.

As she has described the process, subjects tend to arrive with individual issues of body identity and insecurity, then work with the artist to discover "the sensual essence that lies within them and makes them a beautiful and individual being". The results have turned out to be as cherished for their therapeutic elements as the finished works created from each session. In other words, they add up to what all great art wants to be: a catharsis, both in terms of process and product.

As originally conceived, and taken together as a series, the resulting Boudoir Project images and entire process are designed to both break down stereotypes and to re-imagine ideas of beauty, sensuality and perfection…

…The results , as seen in the artist's lush prints, both black-and-white and in color, combined the sweetness of the best marital sensuality and a recognition of the majestic elements in classical odalisques and other nude forms. These are real bodies allowed to shine as embodiments of humanness - as well as the perfect show to move us all from the just-past booziness of New Year's on toward the lush lasciviousness that we all wish our Valentine's Day to be.

All will become, like American Stripper, a book - eventually. But much better to see them now, in BMG's superb gallery setting, against the backdrop of snow and the frozen brook above which the space perches. Take a loved one.

"The Boudoir Project" will be on display from January 4 through February 18. A percentage of the proceeds from photograph sales will be donated by Isis and the gallery to Ophelia's Place, an eating disorder outreach and education program based in Upstate New York.