New Drawings

11/02/2016 - 24/02/2016

Lily Mae Martin

Lily Mae Martin
Grappling

2015

pen on paper

105.00 x 75.00 cm

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New Drawings

LILY MAE MARTIN

As an artist, I have always been interested in exploring representations of femininity, femaleness and the female body in my work. One of the primary preoccupations of my work to date has been the internal world of women as communicated by the body. This is in part a response to contemporary representations of femaleness: the female body is ubiquitous, presented visually everywhere, in contexts that range from the crassly commercial to the sacred and divine – and yet these representations, to me, have always felt devoid of the female experience as I know and understand it.

In this series of drawings, I propose to examine and represent aspects of the female physical and emotional experience through the medium of ink on paper.
The composition will isolate full-length portraits of nude women within the negative space of the paper, simultaneously drawing attention to the details of each individual body, (toenails, hair, the cracks and crevices in skin) while the larger scale of the works will allow me to experiment with negative space as well as their imposition on the exhibition space and the viewer’s consciousness. This will involve the further development of my drawing technique, which focuses on rendered and layered line in tension with the white of the paper to create contours, form, light and shade.

The composition will be designed to produce an aesthetic that forces the viewer into discomfort, awareness, and ultimately empathy. To present the body as simultaneously beautiful and ugly, complex, contradictory, aspirational and despairing. The use of nudity allows the body of the subject to become its own canvas, without pretence; its tensions and twists communicating an interior dialogue without words. In this work I am inspired by the emotive power of the documentary drawings of Käthe Kollwitz; the technical skill of Albrecht Dürer; and the intimacy, vulnerability and strength in the portraiture work of photographer Sally Mann.

This project represents an important departure from my previous work, which, while exploring similar themes, has focused primarily on my own experiences, using my own body as a subject. The exploration of another person’s physicality is in many ways more difficult: it is interrogatory; a dialogue must be created between artist and subject, as well as between artist and audience. In this way it will be an important development for my skill as an artist, to communicate a multiplicity of experiences using a simple but timeless medium. Similarly, using models as subjects will open up the possibilities for the piece aesthetically, as it will allow me to have more control over the placement of the form, and more direction of the physical positioning and control over the composition of light and shade for each piece. (LMM, 2016)

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