The Human as Accidental, Biological, Random.
“Exploring that realm bounded by our skin in which we consider ourselves kings, but where we are only prisoners.”
A late starter, at art college in my forties, I soon realised the stuff of flesh was my subject.
During that time I ranged through the influences of art history seizing on this and that: the naked gaze of resigned acceptance in a late Rembrandt self-portrait; the luscious translucent bloom on a bare arm from Ingres; Soutine’s sticky-faced pastry chefs; the bodily contortions of an Auerbach, through which suddenly, ….is that an eye?, yes….. through that dense patterning an eye, shining through like an animal’s caught in the headlights; and of course to Bacon’s smudgings and scrapings and ambiguities. Is that face in the process of moving or speaking or crying out? Who’s to know? Or is it’s neither here nor thereness a nudge to the bigger picture: the tragic, ridiculous impermanence of all flesh.
I would hope to add something to the subject of how to speak of flesh today – to speak of how it feels to be flesh.
De Kooning said that flesh is what oils were invented for. Paint can glisten and seep, blob, and wrinkle, shine, sag, drip and weep. Paint can.
Dianne Kaufman 2021