Monday, February 14, 2011

No Map Where I Am

Over the past couple of days, I have been discussing with Lytlewode Press, in Melbourne, the possibility of turning the 30 or so pen and ink drawings of The Flesh Eaters into a limited edition book. A small but well-regarded 'private press', Lytlewode Press specialises in publishing original graphic prints, photographs by artists or of artists, and artist’s books containing original graphic prints and photogaphs. The project looks as if it might progress quickly. The New York-based writer and film-maker, Amos Poe, has agreed to write a preface and there will also be a lengthy Q&A with me, both of which, I hope, wil argue the notion that these works are more than mere erotica (or, worse, arty porn'), that they confront the dillemmas and contradictions inherent in a woman depicting explicit sex, especially sex in which she is an unembarrassed participant, as an element of how she expresses herself.
In different ways in all my work, I explore the insidious influence of media, advertising and mass entertainment on female identity. Most recently, I've been curious about the messy, uncontrolled spill of what geeks and tech' commentators refer to as 'user-generated' content into popular culture, from personal blogs to amateur porn.
As an artist, my job description is very different to a journalist's: I don't have to be dispassionate or detached. Quite the opposite. I've opted to insert myself not just as a creator but also, in a limited sense, a character into the content flow, deliberately objectifying myself, allowing my whole self, including my 'inclusive' sexuality and its various expressions, to be visible and public, so I can better explore the still incompletely mapped territory where prurience, art, technology and issues of identity converge.
As Amos himself wrote to me, a couple of days ago, "I find your perception, your work, extremely strong, especially as you take control of female imagery, put yourself on the line as it were. This brave and risky move is what defines your work, in my view, as avant garde... a step beyond Cindy Sherman, let's say. Your sketches are not overwhelmingly beautiful, but invite the viewer inside their own heads; seen as a series, it is an abstract motion picture that engages the viewer to feel."
I have yet to distill where this is going in terms of a coherent body of work. It's probably a sign of a new-found maturity that I'm resolving my ideas more slowly, more patiently, using the traditional forensic instruments of the artist – pencils, dip pen, ink and lots of paper – as well as a digital camera.


Lea said...

hej Hazel,
very interresting, I guess he the guy who worked with R.Redford's daughter ( her xname evade me just now) on a good film with one of my favorite actress Saffron Burrows -the guitar.
I will look forward the final result.
best wishes, lea

Anonymous said...

I would contest the statement by Amos that "the work is not overwhelmingly beautiful".
The beauty is projected in the raw honesty provided by you to challenge and provoke our thoughts, and feelings about the subject matter. It is so visceral and confrontational that the images begin to weave a tapestry in the mind which hangs there for a long time, as a reminder of the complexities of language, art and life.
Good luck on getting this project done!

Warm Regards,

Anonymous said...

Off topic - I am curious about the gender of your most recent model. It seems almost malleable.