Date of Submission
Project Advisor 1
This past year I explored the ways in which the artist, the model, and the viewer interact in my work. All paintings engage with the viewer to a certain extent. However, the presence of a figure introduces a third party: another person to interact with. I have completed a series of paintings that investigate these relationships as they occur though the actions of creating and viewing a figure painting.
I see the act of painting as highly personal. When I paint a figure, I take ownership of it. The body becomes my personal property and an expression of my own self. This means that when I paint other people their bodies become tools for my self-expression. This relationship both intrigues and disturbs me. Most people depicted in my work are people I know. Using their faces and their bodies to express my own feelings has been difficult for me.
To understand the vulnerability of having your physical body used in a painting, my first pieces in this series where of myself. I tried to make paintings where I felt the most exposed and I put my body on display in ways that I would never feel comfortable with in real life. Furthermore, I positioned my body so that it would engage with the viewer and accept its gaze. From this experience, I began painting other people, making peace with the way in which I took agency over their bodies. I began to focus on the viewer and how he or she interacts with my figures. Some of figures in these paintings are aware of their viewers and others are not. I am interested in how the figures’ engagement with the viewer determines how the painting is understood.
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Mortner, Magda, "Figure Paintings" (2012). Senior Projects Spring 2012. 300.