Threshold, oil on panel, 64" x 48", 2012
As a figurative painter, it is pretty hard to avoid painting a female figure or two or twenty. The nude is an essential component to the study of representing the human form. Here is my most recent attempt.
detail - Threshold
At first, my intentions were admittedly simple. I wanted to represent the female nude figure with dignity and respect. There are so many images (including within my own oeuvre) that show women as objects of desire, as sexually available. This has become a prevalent practice even or especially in advertising. Let's face it, sex sells. But aren't we capable of showing women as more than that? Am I capable of reclaiming the female nude (please pardon the potentially dated feminist speak)? Over the course of this painting I started to doubt the validity of my intentions. Who am I reclaiming the nude female figure from? Male artists? Well sure, there are plenty of over sexed images of women painted by male artists of past and present - but so is true of female artists (again I am not discluding myself here). Alternatively, there are also fantastically painted female nudes that ooze humanity, dignity and create empathy within the viewer, painted by some contemporary artists such as Daniel Sprick, Richard Maury or Catherine Prescott. In the end, I'm not sure where this painting lands. Is this a successful painting despite the vacillating ideas present between strokes? If you hadn't read all this, would you more likely be questioning the validity of some woman walking to the porch in the buff? Questions just raise more questions.