As an artist, I have always been interested in exploring representations of femininity, femaleness and the female body in my work. One of the primary preoccupations of my work to date has been the internal world of women as communicated by the body. This is in part a response to contemporary representations of femaleness: the female body is ubiquitous, presented visually everywhere, in contexts that range from the crassly commercial to the sacred and divine – and yet these representations, to me, have always felt devoid of the female experience as I know and understand it.
In this series of drawings, I propose to examine and represent aspects of the female physical and emotional experience through the medium of ink on paper.
The composition will isolate full-length portraits of nude women within the negative space of the paper, simultaneously drawing attention to the details of each individual body, (toenails, hair, the cracks and crevices in skin) while the larger scale of the works will allow me to experiment with negative space as well as their imposition on the exhibition space and the viewer’s consciousness. This will involve the further development of my drawing technique, which focuses on rendered and layered line in tension with the white of the paper to create contours, form, light and shade.
The composition will be designed to produce an aesthetic that forces the viewer into discomfort, awareness, and ultimately empathy. To present the body as simultaneously beautiful and ugly, complex, contradictory, aspirational and despairing. The use of nudity allows the body of the subject to become its own canvas, without pretence; its tensions and twists communicating an interior dialogue without words. In this work I am inspired by the emotive power of the documentary drawings of Käthe Kollwitz; the technical skill of Albrecht Dürer; and the intimacy, vulnerability and strength in the portraiture work of photographer Sally Mann.
This project represents an important departure from my previous work, which, while exploring similar themes, has focused primarily on my own experiences, using my own body as a subject. The exploration of another person’s physicality is in many ways more difficult: it is interrogatory; a dialogue must be created between artist and subject, as well as between artist and audience. In this way it will be an important development for my skill as an artist, to communicate a multiplicity of experiences using a simple but timeless medium. Similarly, using models as subjects will open up the possibilities for the piece aesthetically, as it will allow me to have more control over the placement of the form, and more direction of the physical positioning and control over the composition of light and shade for each piece. (LMM, 2016)
For any inquiries/ sale please contact Scott Livesey Galleries
SCOTT LIVESEY GALLERIES
909A HIGH STREET, ARMADALE
VICTORIA, AUSTRALIA, 3143
T: +61 3 9824 7770
F: +61 3 9824 7771
( Blind continuous line drawing of Prudence Flint and Fiona Watson in conversation drawn by me )
The Archibald Prize has made it’s way to Ballarat and there have been many events in and around this exhibition. I must admit that I am not one for openings and parties, however I have enjoyed the In Conversation series that has featured artists Juan Ford, Carla Fletcher and Prudence Flint. I think this was a really fantastic thing to do as bringing artists to the gallery to have a chat about their works within the prize as well as their overall careers and practices makes exhibitions relevant.
The audiences were made up of locals, artists and visitors – I garnered this from the Q & A sessions at the end of each conversation.
Exhibitions that are created around a prize are so interesting – sometimes they are not very good, sometimes they are mind blowing and often they are a mix of the two. The Archibald is no stranger to controversy and criticism. I often hear artists scoff that it isn’t a ‘real’ portrait prize ( I didn’t have the courage to ask what that actually meant – I mean, it’s not like there’s a fake portrait prize? ) But I think it is exciting, there are so many people I admire or studied with that are often shortlisted. These prizes really help artists but also, and possibly most importantly, it’s an exhibition that gets people from all walks talking about art.
Each artist talked about their own piece in the prize, all three works are so very different within subject and style. I enjoyed hearing their reflections on painting as a practice, and learning that Carla’s piece is a collage. There was talk about the ‘rules’ for works that are submitted to the prize. The court case that occurred in 2004 when an artist sued the Art Gallery of NSW over a winning portrait being a ‘drawing’ and not a ‘painting’ was mentioned and this got people musing about what is painting and what would constitute a painting within the context of the Archibald and does that even matter? What relationship does photography have to painting? How to keep painting relevant in this day and age.
It was interesting to hear them all talk about their studios. Juan likened his to a science lab; he has two areas – one that is messy and the other that is clean. Carla referred to her practice as being a bit ‘witchy’ and Prudence talked about the whole process being rather mysterious. She has a couch in her studio so she can sit there and knit and problem solve. I love that, I think I will get a nice comfy chair for my new studio because that sounds right to me; The idea of giving yourself a chance to step back from actively making, but still being amongst your work and giving you time to problem solve. Try and create more of an objective space, if one can!
I feel invigorated and really inspired after these talks. All the artists were very generous and had a lot of interesting things to say. It’s made me reflect on my own practice as well and made me realise a few things that I think will keep me going for a good long while.
Here is an article about the court case I referred too :
A brush with controversy By Carolyn Webb
The Archibald is on for another two weeks at the Art Gallery of Ballarat, information is here:
The dress is the wrong green, this bothers me immensely. But hey, it’s only the second layer in parts and still the first in others. I think this painting will only need a little bit of work to either be finished or well on it’s way to finished.
I haven’t been able to paint much, or draw much – or do much of much. I am trying to balance things out and be a better mum and be a better person. So much has landed on us, I can’t even be bothered explaining myself to anyone.
My painting still feels rather amateurish to me – which frustrates the heck out of me. But I know I have had moments where I can see where it could go, which is why I still persist with it. There will be a break through. There will be.
I asked my daughter what she would like to do this afternoon – as we have some one on one time, and she said that she would like to paint together. I think I am more excited about this than her.