Bodies / Ghosts
There is a long tradition in Western art of representing the human figure, but the way in which the body is viewed has changed through the ages, sometimes venerated, sometimes reviled. Currently, the nude appears to be out of favour in Western art and seems to have the capacity to shock. Traditionally, male artists have taken the lead in representing the human body, but in the early 21st century, there is an opportunity for a female interpretation and a feminine / feminist viewpoint. My work unashamedly centres on drawing from life, exploring the exquisite diversity of the human body, interpreted through intense personal and cultural influences of the past three decades. In an age where many seek to alter their looks artificially, wiping the hard-won marks of their lifelong endeavours from their faces and bodies, I revel in scrutinising the human figure and reflecting the experiences written all over it.
I work with the three colour reduction monotype technique, producing unique pieces, which unlike many other printmaking techniques cannot be reproduced as an edition. However, the process also produces a ‘ghost’ image which can left as it stands or added to with oil pastels or oil bars, a technique used by Degas and Monet – Degas’ famous pastel drawings of ballet dancers and bathers are typically based on monotypes.
The technique uses archival quality oil pigments on cotton rag BFK Rives 350gsm paper, giving a lifespan of several hundred years, certainly comparable with works on canvas.
The exhibition I will be showing is called ‘Rinascere’. It is an Italian word which means ‘to be reborn’ or ‘to revive’. I chose it because I have been deliberately working with Renaissance techniques and materials for some time and the word ‘rinascere’ is the root of the word ‘renaissance’. I also identified with it’s meaning ‘to revive’ in the light of the current art trends which have moved away from traditional skills such as drawing and etching.
‘Rinascere’ is a body of small works comprising ten solar plate etchings and the eight Renaissance-style drawings that inspired them. It also includes some very large figurative drawings in the ‘manier-noir’ style.