5 Multiple pleasures

Untitled v, 2013. Oil on Canvas. 133x147cm
Untitled v, 2013. Oil on Canvas. 133x147cm

The rules of this painting practice are predicated on a challenging and risky maxim: to sustain, however precariously and provisionally, an openness to heterogeneity, multiplicity and difference, and in so doing figure a space in which we might ‘come alive’. This provocative maxim applies to myself as much as it does to the viewer, but it does also deliver multiple pleasures: in the life of paint; in the seductions and ethicalities of a dilating gaze; toward becoming; in freedom from the shackles of sameness and through the production of a generative inter-subjective/objective psychic life.

Like all paintings in my current practice, this painting (Untitled v) started with a set of references (the spaces, objects and light of the landscape) that are external to my imagination. As such this painting bears the photographic traces of specific spaces and events in the Grampian Mountains in Scotland and the Drakensberg Mountains in South Africa and produced this figure of an archaic and headless ‘venus’. She is trammelled and distorted by a set of conflicting forces: simultaneous views of her fleshy side rump, pregnant belly and vulnerable crotch are folded into an energy which traverses her skinless inside and outside. This energy, delivered as always through the play of proliferating fractals, also registers the life and pleasures of the act of painting. Invariably applied with a soft, but springy, brush and transparent colours on a naked but sealed linen surface, these coloured and toned marks and motifs, in accumulation and struggling toward articulation, are the material life of this practice. When this life of painting goes well, it usually does so when all of the above mentioned is at least on the radar, and if so, the first set of marks usually inaugurates the overall painterly logic of each painting. In the case of this ‘venus’, the erotic force of this practice is articulated along the contours of a naked and voluptuous ‘body’ and through a register of painting that gathers, expands and dilates. Such pleasure and desire is also under pressure from censorship and repression. But this time …. she arrived.

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