Lisa Yuskavage’s Paintings Of Voluptuous Women Reclaim Femininity

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If her voluptuous women with their cartoon eyes weren’t enough, Lisa Yushavage captured my soul by saying:

“As an artist you’re supposed to spend your life doing something that’d be an utter waste of time for anyone else. And even so, there’s no proof you’re not wasting your life making some total crap.” (Source)

Using her exceptional skill in oil paints to create hyper-hued landscapes with ripe, almost blowsy, nudes is clearly not making crap. With a career that started in the mid 1990s, her work has been the subject of solo exhibitions at prominent institutions, including the Museo Tamayo Arte Contemporáneo, Mexico City; Royal Academy of Arts, London; and the Institute of Contemporary Art, Philadelphia.

“I don’t want my pictures to be up to any good. I like the idea that they’re troublemakers. So if I’m told they’re bad for the world, it pleases me. I don’t want to make something that’s an antidote. I want to pose questions. That’s what I do. I suppose I strive to bother people and be loved for it. That’s the dream.” (Source)

These are erotic pictures of women, painted by a woman. Rather than the patriarchal view of sexual woman as object, these women are sexual for themselves. Sometimes kinky, often controversial, these paintings have been compared to soft-core porn. It’s intended as an insult, but it’s actually a reclaiming of power and the ability to depict women in all their forms. “It’s not about being well behaved,” Yaskavage says. “It’s not about behaving for others.”

The essence of female power is not that women must be desexed, it’s that women can decide how they want to be seen—sexy, silly, powerful, maternal, erotic, masculine, intelligent, profound—any combination of these, and much more. Yaskavage’s women are the creatures of her mind, brought to life through her skill with a paintbrush, and behaving in exactly the way they’re meant to in the worlds she’s created.

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Kristy Milliken’s Drawings Of Luscious Fat People Confronts Body Image Issues

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Australian artist Kristy Milliken knows nudity. A former photographer in the amateur porn industry, she became inured to capturing images of stereotypically attractive, thin women on film and moved to paper and ink and a new point of view.

“We see skinny women everywhere. I always forced ‘flaws’ into any of the skinny women I painted, the bigger ladies are what they evolved into. Something far more interesting, of course different pieces have different intent behind them, but there’s a naivety to them. An unaffectedness that I aspire to in my own life. I draw them as beautiful because I think they are.” Source

Milliken’s ink drawings are adorably subversive. The women are gorgeously fat, rosy and delicious. They look luscious, like ripe fruit, plump and sweet. Round tummies, thick thighs, heavy breasts, all kissed with pink and purple, topped with adorable round cheeked faces. They’re sexy, these large women, bound and gagged, smoking and eating, covered with food. The whimsical execution contrasts with the overtly sexual nature of the work.

“It’s a weird time for fat. Fat is both confronting and can be the most normal thing in the world, It’s the context that’s important. Plus I’m sick of all the pictures of skinny girls that seem to be everywhere.” Source

According to the artist, the themes of greed and beauty reoccur in her work, paired in an unusual way. Luxuriant pasta cascades over the women, sating and draping and entangling them. But despite her claim that these images are about avarice, the images feel affirming, even charming.

Body positive art can sometimes be confrontational, taking a focused, warts and all approach. Asserting that she’s not attempting to be political, Milliken’s work feels joyous and sweet— a light perspective on a weighty subject.

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Intimate Portraits Of People With Disabilities Questions Societies Notions Of Beauty

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The nudes in Olivier Fermariello’s series “Je t’aime moi aussi” aren’t the familiar forms. Do they make you uncomfortable, these images of men and women outside the norm? Do you want to look away? Do the portraits feel exploitive?

People with disability in most cases feel the discrimination of not being considered entirely as a man or a woman: instead they feel treated either as children, either as beings belonging to a third gender, neutral with no libido. This project is about people, who are suffering from this kind of discrimination, but are not willing to give up their fight choosing a direct way to express themselves revealing their intimacy.

There is very specific platonic ideal of attractiveness that we all know, even if we choose not to accept it. Sure Dove has been campaigning for “real beauty” and Debenhams put size 16 mannequins in shop windows, but the vast majority of self-acceptance/social-acceptance images we see feature non-disabled people. The exclusion of images of people with disabilities removes them from the context of normalcy, both alienating and alien-making.

The series title translates to “I love you, too,” and this comes through in Fermariello’s photos. His pictures are not sensational —there is little effort to make the subjects of the photos look strange or other. There is also very little artifice, especially in the photos of the little person. She is captured, documentary-style, allowing us to see commonalities. This is an adult woman, sexual and sensual. All of the people photographed are making a clear statement in their fierce nakedness.

I wondered to what extent a disabled person was willing to go in leading a battle against the ultimate taboo in the field of disability. These images are the answer to my question.

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Anastasia Mastrakouli’s Alphabet Made Out Of Naked Bodies

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You’ve likely already noticed: this isn’t your typical font.  Instead of using pixels or vectors, photographer Anastasia Mastrakouli uses her own body to create a steamy alphabet (pardon the pun).  Mastrakoukli positions herself behind wet glass partly hidden as if in a shower.  She emphasizes certain parts of her body, and in turn certain parts of letters, by placing herself closer to the glass.  The result is an eye-catching font – one in which the medium may grab more attention the the message it spells.  Check out her website to see the rest of the alphabet.

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Miru Kim’s Naked Cities

I’m loving this series of photographs by Miru Kim wandering various cities naked. I especially like the photos after the jump where she’s in various train tunnels and abandoned buildings. Talk about Beautiful Decay!

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