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VCU alumnus presents anatomical pop art in new Tompkins-McCaw gallery show

October 14, 2015

The Brain, by Nickolai Walko

"Unmasked: A Visual Dissection" opens Oct. 22. 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, Oct. 22-Jan. 31, 2016, is free and open to the public during all 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.

Opening reception

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 reception, like the event, is free and open to all.

Image: The Brain, by Nickolai Walko

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