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is located within the image of the older woman. these days i'm using the domestic nature of the still life, the figurine, and children's play to present the disallowed aspects of this figure: the detached, decomposing, crinkling, scarred and temporal body of ageing. FW in the context of a traditional still life, the shriveling, spilling, spotting, of deteriorating foodstuffs threatens to disgust us, but never does due to the sheer beauty of their depiction. are there some parallels here? Jm Yes. i'm attempting a sort of detournée of materialities that are culturally unwanted. FW it is often the body’s orifices and leakages, the way they look and feel, that your paintings evoke. is there more to tell about the monstrous-feminine and the way in which it informs your work? are there particular writers and ideas associated with this? you mentioned Julia kristeva?2 Jm the monstrous-feminine is a term coined by Barbara Creed in her book of the same name, and in which she looks at Kristeva's writing on the abject.3 i came to this text after making the paintings that are in this show, but the term has become important to me. i have also become interested in the body sensation paintings of maria Lassnig, where she tries to paint how it feels to be in her body sensing outwards, rather than how it might look from the outside. FW these interests of yours are interpreted through quite traditional conventions of object presentation, the still life. is this an intended confrontation of contemporary feminist art- making with historical, generally male still life painting? or are your paintings at play between cultures, part historical quotation, part postmodern sensory seductive excess, part ideological feminist perspective. Jm i like the idea of a seemingly conventional image, one that can easily be put in a box, but then the bottom falls out of the box because actually the question, What is it? cannot, after all, be easily answered. FW your painting The Bloodbathers seems to be a complex work into which you have introduced references to viewing and being viewed as well as the body metaphors already discussed. you told me that you had been thinking about velasquez’s Las Meninas (1656). What sort of a conversation did you have with that painting? Jm i have thought about Las Meninas a lot, and when i looked at a particular set of images one day, the infanta, with her pannier dress and golden hair, just seemed to be there as one of my models, and to the right, the adult female dwarf, both looking out but this time with no eyes, only the single sunglass lens sitting at their feet. trouble with the gaze. i just had to paint it. it is my humble homage to something great. FW until you mentioned it, i hadn’t realized that the darker, lurking form in the foreground was originally the lens from a pair of sunglasses. i had certainly understood it as somehow different and distinct from the ice cream, but now i understand it as materially and functionally different too whilst also connected to the ice cream through reflection. now that i realize what it is, or was, i am interested to know whether you also made use of Foucault’s essay ‘las meninas’ in The Order of Things?4 Jm i know the Foucault text, and the bouncing gaze in the Velazquez fascinates me, but there's a space between my interests and research and the actual images i make. Everything goes down into the marsh and forms, images, even titles, come back out. Perhaps working out exactly what might have happened in the marsh is for someone else to do. FW i am interested to know whether being viewed, and viewing, and being mirrored and mirroring are important here or whether it perhaps suggests an absent eye just as the ice cream seems to suggest an absent body.

68 AmBiguOuS PRACtiCES

Still Life: Ambiguous Practices Exhibition Catalogue  

Catalogue by Frances Woodley