This work explores the ways in which a woman’s body is often delineated into parts based on purpose and function. Using distinctly feminine anatomy paired with the sexual organs of flora I explore aspects of my own physical existence as a woman. This results in paintings that are intensely personal while also, through the lack of distinctive characteristics, allowing the work to function as a reference to all women’s bodies. The botanical elements act as extensions of these bodies. Acknowledging sexuality, while falling short of sexual beauty, my goal is not to highlight sexuality in femininity but to emphasize the visceral discomfort which often accompanies a woman’s physical experiences.
In separating and isolating individual parts, I point to the way in which the treatment of the body based on definitive female functions often serves to define the woman as a whole. With this work I am addressing the guilt, fear, anxiety, and profound unknown when being confronted with the limitations of physicality. While addressing these anxieties, I also show tremendous appreciation and compassion for the female body through the loving, and often obsessive, rendering of my subjects.
Recalling popular color palettes from my childhood, I create painted gradients on which to display my figures. Multiple layers cover these backdrops and are blended until every mark is eliminated. This technique mimics digital fabrication, despite working solely within the boundaries of oil paint, a substrate, and the hand. Through the pristine level of finish in my subject matter, this work is in dialogue with the historical tradition of realism within portraiture and still life painting. In contrast, the juxtaposition of these objects against abstracted formal elements situate them in a wholly fictional, artificial space. Using this combination of painting styles I am able to both highlight and re-contextualize realism.