THE PREVIEW, SYDNEY 2017
'A Summer in the Nude'
... as I stood there I was shaking. My heart was beating so fast - I knew I had to share it - so I told you that I would just read exactly what I wrote that day at the beach:
.. where to start.
As I'm writing this I try to imagine myself standing in front of you - with your eyes looking at me and a certain feeling in my stomach as I'm trying not to freak out. I'm overwhelmed- a bit speechless - and before I start I want to thank you all from my heart. Thank you for taking the time to be here .
Okay. So let me start from the beginning - you know that's how I like to start all my stories. The beginning being the first thought I had about this show.
I've had the feeling for a while. I knew I wanted my first show to be in Australia. And as I was thinking about Australia I was reminded of summer. I had started to practice a new technique at the time (blind drawing - portraying sculptures). And that is what I want to talk to you about. Blind drawing - being naked. Speaking from within. Listening and trusting the flow of my hand as the voice to my soul. Trying something new. Pushing myself to my boundaries - so I would learn.
Cause what happens when we close our eyes? We might still be listening? But what do we hear?
The outside noice? The traffic - the people talking to us? Or do we hear the voice?
The voice as the person in our head telling us what they think. The voice that's never satisfied. The voice that puts us down and make us doubt everything about ourselves.
Or maybe we still our mind and try to feel. We rarely make it this far. Cause what do we really feel?
Standing naked or listening to the feeling within - the same message - and then the question:
Why do I focus on women?
For a long time I was only portraying men. I believe I portray what I need to learn about - problems inside myself that needs light upon so I can see them. I'm fascinated about the naked body. As its simple beauty - imperfection. It's so fragile, but at the same time so strong. It's soft but hard. It's like the surface of the ocean covering the true beauty within. As a culture we have become frightened about the naked body. We measure it. As if it was a thing. Only the perfect ones can be shown. But how can anything in this world ever be perfect? And especially when it comes to humans. Humans are not things - we are beings - we are alive and we are in constant transformation with time. Things are dead but the body is alive.
So what do I see looking at a naked body?
I notice its sculptural form. The lines and edges. I see it as it is. The only way I can portray something. But what does the person inside the body think? That's the most interesting question I can think of. What goes through their mind? ... I wonder.
The pieces in this collection are (as mentioned) inspired by summer. I've used different techniques and most of the works are based on new methods I haven't used before. Some show nude bodies which I've made portraying sculptures - only looking at the object I was portraying. My hand was free in a way. With my eyes off the paper, the object was translated as a feeling from my vision to my hand.
I tried to dwell more into the one line and only recently started to draw with my eyes closed. The relief drawing with my eyes closed - as the flow of a good song. I've been practicing the one-line for many years and I constantly try to see how it can change - in new direction - to keep it interesting. (mostly to myself actually).
I hope you know I create as a need to myself. Very selfish in a way. I create what I want on my own walls. And I'm tough - cause I don't want the same piece twice. I want to move away. Tell another story. Be different.
Back to the show.. The portraits in one-line are all made with closed eyes. In a way I felt like a beginner again. It made it interesting. The line has become controlled in a way with so many years of practice. With my eyes closed it loosened up.
I speak from a woman's perspective cause that is what I know about. I speak from what I've experienced through my life so far. From all the things I've learned and the mistakes I've made. I speak from what I believe to be true at this exact moment. Maybe I will know better tomorrow. And then I will speak about that.
There's only two more things I will tell you about and then I won't take your attention any longer. Thank you btw. - for listening so carefully.
I want to talk about the largest work I made for the show. It's titled 'We were innocent once - then humanity happened'. I made the piece to touch upon the issues in the world. Not that they will ever disappear cause how can we know good if we don't know bad? But to keep it short. The piece is about how we are all born as innocent human beings. The same. We are weak and fragile. Don't know anything about good or bad - we don't know how we are or how we look - all of this happens to us as we grow up. We are all different, but we are all the same. We radiate from the same feelings. Feelings we all have (except some sick people of course) but feeling I've learned is the hard part of being human. We have become too clever to our own feelings. We all do bad and we all do good - and I want to remind you or maybe just myself that we were all innocent once. We still are. Humanity just happened.
The second and last thing I want to talk about is the ocean. Thinking about the show I thought a lot about the attributes of the ocean. The ocean.. soft and gentle, but strong and powerful. Covered by a surface but see through when you look closer. What I realized in this study was how much the ocean was controlled by the wind - the weather and other outside factors. When ever I looked at the ocean I heard the sound of the wind (as the voice in our head - surrounding you). Perceiving it from a distant it looked overwhelming and terrifying, but closer you could see the perfection. We as humans has ruined a lot for the ocean ... as we do for ourselves. We forget to embrace the storms knowing they are only hitting on the surface - if we will embrace and let it pass we will all be okay. We are the sand on the shore. Made from the same materials but oh so different.
I will pack my things now and leave the beach. It's late. I will never forget this. It seems like a dream and yet it seems so real. Weird, right?
Thank you so much for your attention.
Photo credit Ashley Russell