Unmasked: Nickolai Walko’s Anatomical Art
Showing in the afternoons on the Cabell Screen
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.
Walko’s art is on display at Tompkins-McCaw Library for the Health Sciences, 509 N. 12th St., through April 29.