This month’s featured gallery is Artistic Nudes. The nude is a classic subject for artists and is of endless fascination and challenge. There are many types of nudes, in all degrees of undress and all manner of poses. Some are intended to make a statement, some are part of a story and some are just a celebration of the human form.
My work has predominantly encompassed the subject matter of the nude ever since 2003 when I was pregnant with my son. Pregnancy felt to me like an invasion and a loss of identity. This mass growing inside of me, pushing my stomach outward, the object of strangers pawing and prying…a loss of self. I’m aware of how that sounds, and don’t get me wrong, I wouldn’t trade being a mother for the world, but the pregnancy part really put me in a strange place. Like, I hadn’t fully gotten to know myself and now, I must get to know this little being even before I have laid eyes on him…Even surmising “how he’s doing” to satiate strangers and their relentless questions at grocery checkout lines seemed so peculiar to me, since I knew he was fine, while I on the other hand carried quite a burden. I didn’t have much of an outlet for this. Wasn’t even sure *how* to go about addressing it, since, even the mere mention that a pregnant mother might not be enjoying every single moment of such a “joyous” time instantly paints horns on ones head and places a pitchfork in one’s hand and the demon that is the uncomfortable, not quite so “glowing” matron gets holes burned through her maternity garb by the same strangers asking to “touch” her bulging belly….
So, I painted. My first real attempt was aptly titled “In Utero”, a woman suspended in painterly viscosity mimicking the bottom of an unclean pool…it grew from there. With each painting I get to know myself a little bit more. It’s me. Bare. Exposed. Much like I felt standing in line at countless check outs. Sitting in class barely able to fit between the seat and the desk. Standing in front of the world silently screaming that I had a voice too.
In short, each nude is a therapist. And I’m cool with that. – Aja
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