venus thrice objectified ~ exploration of the grotesque

Venus Thrice Objectified {triptych} {3″x5″; Oil on board}

Doll {triptych}

I enjoy fooling with established perceptions in my art ~ my own perceptions and those of others. Many artists do this. When people become confused from something senseless or unusual {a visual paradox, a shocking image or a trompe l’oeil painting, for example}, they often learn new things about themselves as they try to make sense of whatever it is. An artist who purposely creates this confusion in their art may be attempting to communicate something very difficult to express; something that can not be emoted with more commonly defined visual symbols.

The human body is an excellent subject for artists who want to explore this aspect of perception by intentionally causing such imbalances through their choice of imagery. Like many other objects, the human body is expected to have certain shapes, especially in the face, but beyond that it is an object with which we are most intimate. Therefore, when an artist deforms the human figure in their art, the results can be more unnerving than with other subjects. There are many artists who portray people with missing limbs and surreal deformations. Odd Nerdrum, Hans Belmer and Frances Bacon are only a few of the many artists who express emotional ideas and perceptions in this fashion.

I developed the piece below while trying to sketch from memory a drawing I had been working on from a live model. To me, the new imagery I came up with reflects the boredom I saw in the model’s face, my sensual interest in the weight of her body and the frankness of her pose {it’s lack of demureness}. She has wound up looking very much like an old doll, caressed beyond recognition. Her face and arms are gone {the most expressive parts of the human body}, yet the deformity and the shape of the body that remains speak for themselves.

{see related shockflash post.}

Background studies for “Three Small Paintings”:

Drawing from memory following life-model session {Sketch in pen on trace}:

Doll ~ Preliminary Sketch

Two life drawings that inspired the work {25″x36″; Charcoal on paper}:




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