aether issue five- fall/winter 2013

Page 13

Routine and


Jane Radstrom by RACHEL STEPHENS

Jane Radstrom’s work quietly dances the line between pinup and portrait. At less than 30 years of age, Jane has a strong sense of self that allows her to tackle this fine line that art history has made so brittle. Working with the female figure, especially nude or even partially nude, is a subject that has been fighting objectification and beauty stereotyping for centuries. This subject matter does come with a lot of baggage. I certainly do not want to paint a lot of sexy pin-ups, and my work has a lot in common with those images. So, I am constantly assessing the line between art and objectification. I believe that it is possible to paint nude women without objectifying them. I look for the individuality of each model in their personality, body language and shape. The poses that I like best reflect the person’s natural mannerisms rather than posturing

for the viewer. I think that this emphasis on the individual separates authentic portrayals of women from objectified portrayals. Before taking pastel to paper, Jane extensively photographs her subjects and then carefully reviews the hundreds of images to find the few that seem to best convey the models personality and mood through body language. She has found the most effective way to get her models to forget the camera and be themselves is to have them perform routine actions over and over. “By the twentieth time of putting socks on and off, they have stopped thinking about the action and have begun to do it naturally, just as if they were at home.” It is these quiet, ordinary moments that Jane portrays so well. Though Jane’s technique is quite different, she relates to Degas’ pastel revival of the 19th century and his depictions of women completing everyday image (opposite): Unstable Ground, pastel, 59 x 29 in., 2013