Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Sacred Flesh Opening, Part III

In the last post I was talking about the Opening for Sacred Flesh and how it went.  There were more stories to tell...

Susan gesturing to "The Bliss of it All", photo by Susan Hribernik

First, though a funny picture Susan Hribernik took - perfect placement of my fingers, wouldn't you say?!  Silly, silly!

The  picture I got the most questions about during the evening was "Yes, this is me."  A lot of people were surprised I had included a naked picture of myself in the exhibit, but I told them I would have felt like a hypocrite if I hadn't.  How could I expect others to allow nude pictures of themselves to be displayed if I weren't willing to show one of myself?

Others were very interested to know the technique I'd used to create it.  I've written about it before on this blog, but for those of you who haven't read it - I occasionally do "blow out" paintings - emotional pictures done in a flurry of feelings when no other modality will help me let loose of them.  They have not yet proven to be paintings I would show in public, but they're important for me to do - incredibly helpful.  I guess it's like someone going out and hitting 100 golf balls to let go of the stress of the day.  At any rate, I have some of these blow out pictures in storage, so when I was needing a canvas, I decided to get creative and paint on top of one of them.  Well, not paint - draw, with pastels.  The surface was very rough so the pastel didn't go into the crevices.  I sprayed the surface many times with fixative to get the pastel to stick to the canvas then sprayed it again when I was finished to seal it (hopefully).  It's still a somewhat fragile surface, but that's OK.  Life and everything in it is transitory.

Another piece people liked a lot was Flinging the Red Scarf. I think they like the energy in it and the attitude of the model as she strides off the stage.

The third painting that people asked me about a lot was Mother and Daughter Jocks Bound by Caution.  If they hadn't read the text that went along with it yet, they wanted to know why the tape was there, and if they had, they wanted me to tell them more about it.  They could understand the women's feelings about being shown naked in public, and they could understand my frustration at having to alter the piece so late in the game, but I think pretty much everyone agreed that the piece and the message behind it are stronger for the tape.  I agree as well.
I had another encounter I wanted to relate from the evening.  I stood in the middle of the room most of the night so I would be accessible to anyone who might have questions.  Sometimes I would go up to people to try to strike up a conversation.  One such time I saw three young men, maybe 18-20 years-old, gawking at the pictures, looking around from their tall selves in amazement.  It seemed to me like they were wondering why anyone would paint women like that?  I asked them what they thought.  They said they weren't sure they liked it because of how the women looked and they wanted to know why I'd painted them.  I told them that I thought it was important for them to know what real women look.  One of these days if they get married, their wives will probably look like one of these beautiful women, and it would be great for them to know that.  The one kid shook his head, "No way, man!  My wife is gonna be hot!"  I told him she might be at first, but that as she aged, her looks would probably change - just like his would - and she would become beautiful in a different way.  I have no idea what those guys went away thinking, but if they went away thinking then the project is doing it's job!  It's interactions like that that make me do this work. 

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