Eye Balling; A surreal and figurative oil painting exploring the nature of gaze.
The inspiration and making of the painting by Jessica Ballantyne
Eye-Balling is a piece that explores the gaze and how we look at ourselves and others. I indulged myself with textures more than usual in this painting, and the combination of spray and oil paint with the lace layers gives the artwork an almost translucent feel.
This painting comments on the nature of self objectification. Self-objectification is the process by which women are conditioned to view their bodies as objects to be looked at. In my opinion, this self-objectification causes a void between experience and the perception of experience by creating a sense of self observation, where it’s difficult to focus on the reality and feelings of an experience because one is concerned with ones outer appearance whilst having the experience. So it is possible to be having an experience and at the same time viewing yourself (as if from outside) having the experience; an observers perspective to ones own body. I was very much inspired by Hans Bellmer’s Dolls for this painting.
Each canvas holds a different piece of the body or abstraction of the body. There is distortion and repetition of body parts and an overwhelmingly ‘pink’ and fleshy feeling of the over feminised body parts, shapes and forms contrast with eyes that are solid, easily recognisable and that stare out at the viewer.
The body is distorted, disfigured and parts are merging with other parts, in other words there is no real autonomy or individuality that can be easily identified. The eyes themselves seem to be either looking through the mass of bodies or form part of the fleshy folds themselves, becoming the subject of the looking as well as the object being looked at.
See the ‘making of ‘photos below and view the finished piece at the bottom of this post:)
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