Nickolai Walko, a graduate of the VCU School of the Arts, has developed a unique and eye-catching form of image-making that hybridizes classical drawing and pop art. After placing a layer of black masking tape on a brightly colored panel or wall, covering the surface from edge to edge, he draws elaborate designs, often anatomical, directly on the tape and then, using an X-Acto blade, meticulously cuts out sections of the tape to create a strong-contrast image. Finally, to prevent tape decay, he sprays the work with a polyurethane coating. The finished product conjures, in equal measures, the anatomical sketches of a Renaissance master and the bold iconic works of Andy Warhol.
Given his anatomical subjects, Walko appropriately likens his elaborate process to a medical operation, with the tape serving as skin and the removing of the tape representing the exposed anatomy. At this show at Tompkins-McCaw Library for the Health Sciences, he showcases his anatomical creations, some of which have been inspired by materials from the library collection.
The exhibit is free and open to all during normal library hours. Parking is available for a fee in the 8th Street parking deck. If special accommodations are needed, please contact Thelma Mack, research and education coordinator, at (804) 828-0017.
An opening reception will be held on Thursday, Oct. 22, from 5:30 to 7 p.m. in the Special Collections and Archives reading room at Tompkins-McCaw Library. Refreshments will be served. The event is free and open to all.
Image: The Brain, by Nickolai Walko