A Body In The Sun (2019)
Oil on board
The concept I have chosen to investigate is the figure in context. However, I have wanted to take a specific path within this idea, exploring a narrative that is relevant to me; that is, the way we view the idealised female body, and is there really such thing?
As well as conducting primary and secondary research; my research divulges itself daily with the ever present portrayal in social media/media in general of what the idealised female body is. Fortunately, in recent years, the body positive movement has become a strong and driving force amongst these platforms and it is my intention to work within the push of this much needed revolution.
Acknowledging the shift in the medias representation of body types, I pose the question: Have we as artists always remained true to the anatomical realness of the female figure? Or, has the idealisation and sexualisation phenomena also gripped the world of painters too? Investigating paintings of figures in context throughout history, it is easy to realise the figures lend themselves to the popular notion of beauty at the time and is something I intend to research further in correlation to this proposal. This concept is significantly linked to contemporary art as it revolves around the role of media on the perception of idealised bodies. I want to capture these bodies in their truest form, different ethnicities, sizes and the myriad of “abnormalities” every single body has, without the sexualised gaze so often seen in media.
My method in approaching this topic is not only through the research and investigation in media, but also through intimate discussions with my subjects on the topic of body image, self perception and the journey to self love and acceptance. I also intend to extensively explore the works of contemporary artists Jenny Saville, Nicola Smith, Malcolm T. Liepke, Peggi Kroll- Roberts, Jie Gao and many more as the project continues.
Already, with the few works I have done for this project I am seeing the way it is developing and refining my practice. As I continue, I realise the importance of taking many sketches from life and having discussions with the subjects to capture a true essence of their figure. I am noticing capturing a likeness is less about hyper realism and more about adapting the way we see things and what is important to portray within a painting. Thus far, I have been using unusually cropped images of the body with oil on wooden board, and hope to continue this throughout the duration of the remainder of the project.
It is important to me that this project does not fall into a naive attempt at conveying body image issues, laden with angsty undertones. I want it to be a raw, honest celebration of a concept that has relevance to myself and those around me. To achieve this desired outcome, I need to constantly remind myself of this manifesto, and remain aware whiles structuring my approach at all stages of the project. I hope to continue this project indefinitely, creating a thoughtful, engaging, multifaceted, cross -disciplinary body of work.