And then there's the thought that it just doesn't matter! What would you learn about me from seeing my naked body that would be unsafe for me? What exactly is the big deal? Why would you care? What would it matter?
I think the hardest thought is that you might judge me. You might be surprised by how my breasts look or that I have an extra roll on my belly. Maybe you'll notice some wrinkles you didn't see before. Maybe you'll think to yourself that I need to work out, that I should feel embarrassed showing myself like this. Maybe you just won't be attracted to the body I have. I am aware there are people who feel that way about women who are not 100% fit and perfect.
But perhaps, instead, you'll notice the slight anxiety in my eyes and feel compassion. You might see my discomfort and my desire to be accepted and to be seen as I am. Perhaps you'll find my body beautiful. Perhaps you'll recognize the element of soul emanating from my painting. Perhaps you'll feel the compassion I felt for myself as I painted it and some of that will spill over onto you. Perhaps you'll simply find the aesthetics of the painting something which make you want to look at it. Perhaps you'll like how I apply the paint. Perhaps you'll like the composition.
There is so much to a painting to notice. Some of it has to do with the subject matter, and much of it doesn't. Abstract art is all about all the rest of it - the paint, the composition, the energy, etc. My work is all about the subject matter, of course, but that doesn't mean that the other elements aren't there.
I've occasionally wondered if I would have the courage to be at the Opening of my exhibition au naturel. So far I don't.
There's an exhibit in NYC at the MOMA (I think I've mentioned it before), one element of which has two nude women standing in the doorway to it. There is not enough space to get through the doorway into the exhibit without brushing against them. Apparently it is causing a lot of feelings in a lot of people because I've had 5-6 people mention the show to me. It's causing a sensation. People don't know what to do when in the presence of nudity. Even their own.
Think about it - how often are you nude? How do you feel about it? Are you comfortable with it? Do you ever/often see other people's nude bodies? What sort of thoughts/feelings/judgments does it bring up when you do? I'd truly love to know your response to these questions.
Til the next time...
I just received a couple of comments from a reader who gave me some information about the exhibition I was mentioning at the MOMA. For some reason the comments wouldn't post, so I'm pasting them here. Thank you, anonymous reader, for taking the time to give us more information. It's greatly appreciated!
The MOMA show you refer to was the Marina Abramović restrospective. And whereas I'm sure some were put off by the nudity of the people in the doorway, I have spoken to several individuals who are totally OK with nudity who were instead put off by having to TOUCH AND RUB AGAINST NUDE STRANGERS (in order to get through the doors you would have had to squeeze by and touch two nude individuals).#2
Also - in Marina Abramović restrospective, the models at the doorway were not always women!