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Sex in Painting

By April 6, 2017Uncategorized
People sometimes ask me what painters I like, what paintings I’m inspired by. The paintings tend to be figurative, and lately, they tend to be sexy. Sometimes I choose them for what happens in the paint, sometimes I choose them for what happens with the subject. Often there is a personality in the painter – a way of being that I want to inhabit.
I’m going through an erotic phase. Movement, sensuality, sexuality, a bit of incidental shock, and crudeness. I want this. I want to do the things these painters do. I want to learn how I can put more of my own nature on the canvas. Hold back less. Lately sex is all I want to paint. I hope this erotic phase lasts forever, except I’m certain that I’ll starve to death if it does.
I adore Rodin’s watercolors.

I admire Cecily Brown.
Dorothea Tanning does things I find remarkably brave and sexy.

In general, want to be more bold with both subjects and marks, and not as loud in my need for my audience’s acceptance. I’ve always loved the physical and open sensuality of Frankenthaler. This isn’t sex, but it’s physical and personal, an ease with the movement of her body and the liquid paint. I love her for this.

I envy the ball sack on Goya…


…and Courbet. Not this Courbet. Good god no. Barf meringue.
I mean this Courbet: daring and present, concise, and completely unashamed. If he struggled with shyness, I don’t see it. He makes the viewer do all the work of handling this image.

“Origin of the World” was painted a 150 years ago and modern liberated me in modern liberated Seattle still can’t work up the bravery to match it. It seems simple enough, but imagine the conversation he would have: “Thank you for modeling for me. Lay on the bed here, no not with your legs to the side. I want your legs spread open. And if you would please cover your head, I don’t need it here. And no arms. Bend your knee please. I just want you to expose the single shadowed area you always modestly fold away. Yes, thank you. Don’t move. I’ll need to spend some days here, right here on this little chair … where I can smell you. Oil painting takes a while, and I have no camera. Comfortable? I don’t imagine so. Oh well. I feel fine, and fear no social repercussions from your friends.”

I gaze at the narcissistic bastard Freud, the dismantling and complete brutal ownership of everything around him. So simple. No apologies. He just rips it all away, and takes what he wants. Easy to be fearless when you own everyone and everything, as if it had no consequence.
Also: sock. Because.
I want to be as willfully unapologetic as Picasso with his erotic sketches. That man had no shame. None. Where do I leave my shame. I have too much of it. It does me no good here. Sex and art and shame. One of the three must go.

Similarly, the dark couple Hans Bellmer and Unica Zürn were a modern 20’s couple. They used shame like juice. (I’m pretty sure those are Fluevogs.)

And Bacon. That beautiful fabulous intelligently twisted mind meat of a man, Bacon. I like to think we would be friends but for the time difference, and the fact that I’m a minge.

As a teacher of painting, and as a general uptight overachiever who likes to do things with some measure of “success” I’m attracted to realists like Antonio Lopez Garcia. Thank you for the rabbit. That is a rabbit, right? Rabbits are so innocent. Horrifying what this feminine shape does to me, no relief is brought by the idea that it is also food.

I look at Euan Uglow. God he was cold to his models. I haven’t read that, I just see it. That woman must have pained for all those hours spent in that position. Can you even sit like that for 15 minutes?!? And he just had her do it. I don’t sense an empathy here. Uglow didn’t paint as much as he did math on canvas. Color chess, with women’s bodies. I wonder what parts of her lost blood flow, fell asleep, and woke with pins. Maybe that’s why her arms are above her head. The sheer physical pain of her body imitating the sensuality of a leaning 2×4, maybe wondering why she was still there, and should she really come back for another session of this hell. How flattering it is, to be looked at.

There’s no sex in Uglow, but still there is the feminine figure, and very clearly, the object.


Kanevsky liquifies the realism, eliminates the edges, and brings back the movement I am looking for, as does Saville (the pounds of flesh above). Kanevsky’s prom dress guy painting has humor, which is rare, and sentimentality, which somehow works with all the literal and figurative dirt. I look at Kanevsky a lot. And, again, there is the meat. Meat, sex, and figures. Delicious.

I’m starting a new series. A piece of each of these within it. Hopefully.  It’s likely that I’ll starve to death on painting sales. But I have to do it anyway. Can’t be shown up by a white guy’s 150 year old …. minge.


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