These eyes are the result of 18 months of planning, sketching, trying, failing, sculpting, and destroying . I wanted to break away from my painting. To make something completely new.
Finally I have something satisfactory. But best of all I know where I am going with the series.
The planet’s events in the past 18 months have struck me emotionally. I was supposed to be at dinner over by the Bataclan on Nov 13th. Brexit was a big blow. Then, on July 14th, at the last minute, we decided to not go to the Nice fireworks. It was our first day of vacation. At the end of August I walked right next to the car bomb that did not explode or rue de Buci, close to Notre Dame. Then there was the US elections that traumatized and divided my homeland. These manga eye sculptures are my reaction.
A special thanks to my gallerist, Oscar Seran, for his support.
I had a ball painting these. But I’m happy they are finished are ready to decamp to the galleries.
These mannequins were commissioned by Carré d’artistes and will be available in their galleries starting in August. Several artists were selected. I’m curious to see how the other artists finished their ladies. Carré will show the mannequins in their French galleries, all 13 of them, and some of their other galleries wordwide. I do not yet know where mine will be but I’ll post when I do.
The mannequin with the key had to be edited. I like this first version. It was my favorite but when the agent asks for changes, changes must be made. Agents know their clients.
Mannequins are coated with an industrial strength paint that nothing sticks to. Before I could lay the paint or spray it I had to sand the pieces. Mannequins come in parts. They are easy to put together and take apart but sanding them and gluing them as I had to do was painful. I hurt my back to the point that I had to see a chiropracter. Before I could see the chiro, I spent ten days painting or lying down. I painted with coffee, first thing in the morning, and painted with a glass of rosé in the evenings.
Here is an instagram video of me and one of the girls riding the elevator.
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I sanded for two days straight on a city bench in front of my atelier. Parisians rarely address you, unless they need to tell you what you are doing wrong, so it was surprising that every person who walked by had a word for me. Seeing me with all those body parts on the bench in the sun brought them out of their sidewalk grimace. One man, a bit of a nutter, offered to model nude for me. After he left, a real nutter— more like raging insane entity— sauntered up. I knew he was beyond repair, not from the shine in his eyes but from the way he held his pants above his exposed butt cheeks. Luckily I’d finished sanding by then and decamped from the city bench.
After a short vacation I’ll be back in the atelier with a brand new and top secret project that I’ve been working on for a year. Here is an image of the silicon molds.
Under the silicon is the secret sculpture. There are four and they are pairs. They will be completely different from my contemporary realism paintings. I’m going political thanks to #Brexit.
Three naked graces arrived yesterday. I’d awaited anxiously for their delivery.
Before I can paint them, I have to sand down the surface because mannequins are coated with some industrial super-paint. Nothing sticks to it. This makes sense if you consider how abused they are during their lives. Shipped around, dressed, undressed, scratched and scraped. The super paint, whatever it is, makes them easy to clean, but a bitch to paint. Nothing sticks to it. Not even spray paint.
I never realized how ugly mannequins are. This is what we women are supposed to look like. This is today’s canon of beauty. Mannequins. They have monstrously long legs, toddler-sized torsos, male adolescent shoulders, and feet fit for a fairytail princess. Not the feet in the photo, those are mine.
Canons of beauty change through the ages and contemporary beauty canons differ from place to place.
The first time I understood what beauty canon meant, I was in Piazza Signoria admiring Giambologna and Ammanannti’s fountain of Neptune. Of course I’d never really looked at the nymphs. It was Neptune’s privates I admired. Those and his perfectly sculpted six pack abs. (I stole that line from a contemporary romance novel.)
My ex-husband, who stood next to me, said, “Guarda il collo di quello, è mostruoso.” Look at that one’s neck, it’s monstrous. He was looking at the nymphs. And probably watching me, while I stared at the rock hard privates.
We joked about the nymph coming to life. Rising from the marble basin and walking through the piazza. If she was human she would have been Frankenstein’s latest creation, the young Japanese tourists, who were photographing Neptune’s junk, would have run screaming, sure that Godzilla had returned.
Canons of beauty are not only monstrous mannequins. They touch everything and they evolve. What was beautiful yesterday is monstrous today.
Ever been to a dog show? Dogs have character. Man bred and selected them to work. Poodles were hunting dogs. They were shaved in certain places so they could move easily through the brush. Their coats were left long in specific places to keep them warm. In the advent of the dog show, dog breeds were selected for beauty and their looks were distorted.
Now I have some serious sanding to do so I can grace those three monsters.
After every exhibition there is always a downtime.
I can hardly believe a month has passed since my signing, the dédicace. It was a fantastic success.A big turnout. Lots of paintings sold. A big thank you Aurélia, Edith and Charlotte for your engagement.
This mannequin is one of the things I’ve worked on in the last four weeks. It’s from a painting I made of Place Colette. The building is the Hotel du Louvre. It’s lit from below with red lights. It’s at the end of Avenue de l’Opéra.
Lots of Parisian buildings are lit from below, often with white lights. During the Christmas season some buildings are illuminated by changing lights. It’s hypnotic to watch the colors of the rainbow flow over the façades of the Galeries Lafayette and Le Bon Marché.
I’m also working on sculpture but I won’t post any photos until the project is finished. It’s top secret. Something completely different.
I’m sculpting again. I majored in sculpture but in the last thirty years I have tried, in vain, to make something in 3D.
After painting the resin tiger a gallery asked me to paint more sculptures. I searched the internet for all kinds of different forms in resin and found all kinds of animals. Nothing inspired me. I didn’t want to do bulldogs or penguins or crocodiles. Every artist has their token bulldog, either painted or covered in comics or dollar bills.
One night I had a dream, yes it sounds cliché but artists do get inspired by silly dreams. It had been an intense period and the dream was probably a result of the lock to our door being vandalized. A common thing in Paris, the locksmith scam. Do not call an emergency locksmith. I didn’t. Don’t. They will charge you double.
Anyhow, I had this dream and knew what form I wanted to paint on. Here is the prototype for the first form. It’s in plastecine, or plastellina. I won’t tell you what it is, you’ll just have to wait and see when it’s finished.