Tuesday, July 25, 2017

"Naked Selfie No. 1"

This is a new series of Nude Selfies I've been working on, stemming from the small white line woodcut male nudes I did in 2015. I loved describing the figure through the subtle variations in textures and values, but for a long time wasn't sure where to take it in terms of imagery and ideas.

While surfing Google images without filters I inevitably come across naked selfies of complete strangers. Much is discussed and written about how easy access to digital cameras and Internet has blurred lines between the private and public. What we expect to be only shared in intimate settings is instead casually and indiscriminately disseminated around the globe. The completely ordinary naked bodies of specific individuals are now subject to all manner of comment and objectifying scrutiny. Many might say these people have invited scrutiny and crass comments; after all, they are holding the phone, snapping the image. But does that really get everyone else off the hook for any and all of our responses?

With this series I aim to return some of the dignity to these individuals. I don't know who any of them are in real life. I picked out selfies I found particularly interesting or lovely mainly for their compositional lines and shapes. I eliminated background distractions to emphasize what was always intended to be the subject: the figure. My medium of choice is white line woodcuts because the crisp, white lines combined with soft and airy gradations emphasize the shape and volume of the body. I worked on small blocks - no larger than 4" x 4", because I wanted viewers to have an intimate experience akin to perusing family photographs. Also, working at this small size in this medium renders the faces abstract enough to retain anonymity.

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