A forgotten post, late to the show.
There have been fannies in what I do for decades, I dropped them while I ventured deeper into academic art establishment but it’s one of those things like the little kid in 6th sense, “I see genitals, all – the – time”. The vulva is in no way the everything about my practice, I mean, yawn, but there is something about the openings, or the thing on the inside, the space between, eyes, sockets, vulva, flesh, tissue, teeth and lips. these are a few of my favourite things….
Recently I went to a networking event where I was pointed out to someone as “the angry vagina lady” which is fine for now. I’m there to build relationships to advance my knowledge about local business and shinanigans to further my general understanding of community and relationships in order to feed that back into the communities I’m involved in, art, parenting, education, LGBTQ+, trama informed, mental health, private and NHS, feminist, and all the cross overs in-between.
So being known as the angry vagina lady is an in, to a conversation starter, introductions and opportunities, but I will not get stuck with it because there is more to life than our bits.
Some of my paintings practice has vulva, white, some with teeth. It’s a fucking mess, it’s a process, it’s where I’m at with it right now. I got scared by the thought of using my own body as a reference, so I went with it, to play with that vulnerability, what it lead me to was a wave of almost irrational anger towards cis white male artists using in majority cis white female bodies in their work. THAT’S NOT YOURS! Bore off is my general reaction to those practices. Go paint your own body, your own veiny thighs and the delicate hairy curve of your buttocks. I’d be far more interested if you conveyed your emotions or thinking about the world with a detailed painting of your own razor burnt scrotum.
I have been legit scared of using POC flesh in my paintings practice because it’s not mine, because I vilifying the cis white bodies I create because in the details of the private narratives of these are hideous fucking narcissistic monsters and even in the victim/survivor its all cyclical loop, intertwined. POC flesh isn’t mine……..
3 years ago I was scared of drawing halos because they aren’t mine, so I leaned into that because the 6 year old me who had to say a prayer at school every afternoon part of me decided I should. I love finding icons with their faces scratched out in corners of medieval churches on the various faux pilgrimages my most spiritual friend and I take to a most hold pilgrimage village in Norfolk. the defaced paintings showing the anger towards someone less idea, we drive each other to do peculiar things, particularly in the name of our chosen gods. I love icon paintings because they are traditional and unchanged, stories about spectacular humans painted by humans. It was around this time I read FEMEN, I didn’t agree with a lot of what they did but I learned about Oksana Shackko @oksanashachko trained from a very early age in iconography, made a living from it by 12, left it alone for a while during her activist days but went back to it with new meaning before her death at the age of 32 last year. That smarted a bit.
originally this post was about “it’s a bit religious isn’t it?”
It’s not as simple as just popping a halo on them and they tell stories of humans made saints.
I’ve had mixed feelings about organised religion but love of stories, love of people now finding and voices of women and stories of women and people left only as someone’s wife or anon, too poor of status and money.
I’m telling stories, mine mostly, if my work doesn’t make you feel YEAH or EEW, that’s uncomfortable then it’s not for you, jog on.
I moved away from installations and into painting four years ago, I feel like it a lot of catch up so things like flesh painting flesh, my own was scary, I started with way too much pink. I was scared of religion too. But it been a few years and I have to practice a few things.
Here I am, mid baby said painting period, heading back to detached fleshy parts inside organs and the line between the inside and outside the vulnerability and bravery. fear and rage, saints and sinners, monsters and heroes. parents and children.
since writing this post, and leaving it for dead, not posting it, I have painted a lot of flesh, not just mine, but just for me. Don’t @ me.