The Bather, Acrylic on frame, 20cmx 25cm, 2020.
My work draws upon the male gaze and the concept of voyeurism to challenge the traditional diametric of gender, role and domesticity. In referencing canonical genres in the histories of western modernity, such as the bather and reclining nude, my paintings converse with their predecessors to subvert, interrogate and reclaim ramifications in the way the sexes have been represented. The popular narrative, Susanna and the Elders, is of important reference to the bathing nude and its allegorical connotations of female virtue. Whilst the narrative is doubtful in authenticity, the widely disseminated, often male interpretation is the point I deconstruct and open conversation. Western painting often cements the exposure of Susanna’s body in the voyeuristic conspiracy of the Elder’s gaze, subjecting the female body as an object of masculine desires. To me, Susanna still represents the everywoman, whose stomach is still photoshopped in Vogue, whose genitalia is still waxed on Pornhub. The self-portrait enables me to reclaim the female’s self and relations that have been subdued in canonical patriarchal cultures that’ve governed western histories of representing the female body. The domestic interior, the locus of my subject matter, is manifested into representing a visceral venue of security, intimacy, vulnerability, sexuality and identity. My works registers the bedroom and bathroom as a space of both comfort and exposure complying with traditional spaces of modernity whereby the feminine construct has often been placed. My own mundane experiences harmonise with literary representations of the bedroom. Virginia Wolfe’s A Room of One's Own, Charlotte Perkin Gilman, The Yellow Wallpaper, even Emin's bed, observe the space of the bedroom as an intimate space of creative impulse and also confined pressure. My paintings observe the new loose boundary of the inside and the everyday: the human yearn for connections and the feeling of boundaries, rules designated spaces. In reclaiming canonical genres of the female body and fashioning myself to project the contemporary universal comfort, fears, and joys resonates the mundane human experience with my viewer. The viewers gaze is mocked, ignored, welcomed but ultimately acknowledged in my representation of myself and models.