Look at the ornate images below and you'll see an assortment of shapes and colors forming exotic forms that'd belong at home in a geometric fabric, Moroccan tile, Oriental rug or exotic tapestry. Look a little closer, though, and you'll find the unlikely presence of an unclothed human form. That's right, each of these vivid abstractions has within it a naked body. A nude!
Body painter and photographer Emma Hack turns her nude models into living chameleons, camouflaging their naked flesh in a canvas of her own creation. Covering her subjects in vibrant hues until they melt into the images swirling around them, Hack creates optical illusions out of the most everyday resources.
Somewhere between the playful mystery of Liu Bolin and the erotic sensibility of Helmut Newton, Hack delivers "Where's Waldo" with an NSFW twist. If this whole concept seems familiar, you may be thinking of Hack's foray into the pop culture lexicon with her work on Gotye's iconic music video, "Somebody That I Used To Know."
Although Hack's creations look like they were ripped straight from a fairy tale, they're in fact the result of a painstaking process that takes roughly 15 to 19 hours. "My biggest challenge, and it always is, is making somebody comfortable when it is such a painful process for them," Hack told Beauty Launch Pad. But the meticulous process is far worth the stress, resulting in a mind-warping multimedia experience involving the body, painting, performance and photography all at once.
"Emma Hack: Undercover" runs until March 12, 2014 at Rebecca Hossack Gallery in New York.