By standardizing the all-over tone of the skin, I aim to contemplate how strange it would be if the body were to be just one flat colour. At the moment I am unsure whether I want my main focus to be the differences in tone of one person’s body and highlighting how many distinct shades there really are; or whether I want to focus on the shades of intimate areas and systematize them. By flattening the colour and making them non-distinguishable, it’s in a way making the place still as private and intimate as it was because one cannot tell which part of the body it is, but at that same time it is removing the emotional or intimate connection from the area. I want to do more research into this to figure out what direction I am more excited to take, and how to progress with it. At the moment it is interesting me because of the juxtaposition of painting photo-realistic belly buttons and emphasizing the difference in each with use of detail; contrasted with the now flatness of colour, showing the differences in one person’s body through a limited palate and use of colour. I am trying to take influence from Robert Ryman’s belief that ‘anything that’s in a painting that doesn’t need to be there, shouldn’t be there’. By limiting my use of colour in each painting I wish to correspond a similar message as I did with the detailed naval paintings, instead in the most basic way possible to see if it really does communicate similarly.
ABOVE 9cm x 9cm experiments of creating flat colour on a de-texturized surface
After a time of research and reflection within my practice, I have decided to focus on the concept of privacy in my work. By painting medium-sized canvases in one flat colour I aim to de-humanize intimate areas. Whilst I am technically broadcasting a very private part of my body (for example, the side of my ring finger, the inside of my thigh) the disengagement from detail and reduction of colour aims to focus the audience’s mind on topics of colour and shape, rather than the content of the painting. I hope to create such a flat colour (through sanding each layer of paint before adding another coat) that engaging with my work brings to mind questions regarding material and experiences of sinking into the painting through the lack of ‘texture’ similar to Ad Reinhardt ‘Black Paintings’. I hope to work even larger, but feel I want to see if my message communicates on a smaller level first.
ABOVE 12in x 12in canvas to further exploration into flat colours. 8 layers, sanding in between. The texture is still not flat enough for my liking and I am unhappy with the slight changes in shade that are visible across the canvas.