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DailyTidings.com
  • Gallery showcases nude art

    MAda Shell exhibit opens with song, spoken word
  • Brad Carrier dropped his black religious robes and stood naked before a crowd packed into the MAda Shell Gallery on Ashland's plaza on Friday night.
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  • Brad Carrier dropped his black religious robes and stood naked before a crowd packed into the MAda Shell Gallery on Ashland's plaza on Friday night.
    "This is what we are," he declared.
    However a person defines God, Carrier said it's a tragedy and an insult to define any part of creation, including the human body, as bad.
    Carrier, who moved to Ashland in 1986 to serve as a minister, was surrounded by walls filled with art celebrating the male and female form.
    Aletha Nowitzky of Ashland stood in the gallery as well, her breasts exposed through holes cut into her dress. Before Carrier delivered a 20-minute message about the human body, Nowitzky sang in her revealing attire.
    The MAda Shell Gallery art and performance pieces came in response to a Jan. 5 decision by an Ashland City Council majority to ban the display of genitals in outdoor public spaces. Ashland previously had a more limited ban in parks and the downtown area, but councilors widened the ban after two out-of-state men appeared on separate occasions near Ashland schools.
    The new law doesn't apply to Carrier's indoor performance at the MAda Shell Gallery.
    City Councilor Eric Navickas, who runs the gallery with Amy Goddard, voted against the city-wide nudity ban.
    Navickas said the exhibit features about two-dozen artists from all over the world, with entries coming from as far away as the United Kingdom and Japan. He said artists are always interested in having a venue to show their art, but many showed an interest in protecting freedom of expression.
    "People wanted to celebrate the human body and take the lewd, sexual aspect out of it," Navickas said.
    Other than the performance pieces, the rest of the night was suprisingly traditional — a reminder of why the nude has played such a central role in art over the centuries.
    "I didn't know what to expect," said Ashland resident Luke Mastny. "It's kind of traditional. It's not provocative. It's not erotic. It's natural beauty. It's all celebrating the human body in one way or another. It's great."
    Mastny said he could see both sides of the public nudity issue in Ashland. He said some people didn't show discretion when they appeared nude near schools. At the same time, Mastny said he believes in personal freedom and thinks nudity bans provoke people.
    "It seems like some people want to be nude because they're told they can't be," he said.
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