Continuing with ideas suggested in ‘C.Cahun’. 2016, I use the same iconography to explore the effect of colour and gesture.
In both ‘C.Cahun’ and this work, I fetishise the feet of the figure by the use of drawing. Powerful legs and the contrasting, relatively delicate hands above create an incongruous combination. This suggests both the feminine and masculine in us as does the mask like head representing more than one aspect of self. Gillian Wearing has made compelling work referencing Claude Cahun which I acknowledged in the naming of these paintings.
This work began in 1988, as a painting of statuary off the Duomo of Milan.
For many years I looked at architecture as stereotypical of a ‘masculine’ principle. However, very often I ‘feminised’ forms by painting them with lush, organic gestural marks. The work on the left is a heroic figure with hands held over the head in an act of protection or supplication. The hands became simplified and heads more mask like as the work progressed. I elongated the figures and extended the legs removing to top torso. All specific gender indicators are removed and more emphasis placed on the colour.
Making an art historical reference to C.Cahun, I continue in the tradition of questioning notions of gender….is this a male or female nude? What ‘mask’ do we wear in presenting sexuality or traditional gender roles?