Satin

To some, satin is the most sensuous of fabrics with its lustrous sheen and silky feel. It conjures up the perfumed boudoir for women and the sweaty boxing ring for men. Like no other fabric, satin draws attention to the fact of the naked  body within. In this series of paintings, I have chosen to portray figures clothed in satin so as to reveal the geometry of drapery and conceal that of the human body. From gowns to pajamas, satin clings in different ways, reflecting light around the form.  Also, because of the differing  ways men and women have customarily worn this material, gender becomes significant in what and how much is concealed .

Satin is suggestive of the erotic, and thus of the tangling of limbs and torsos. My paintings, though not strictly erotic in nature, illustrate this entanglement through the stitching together of draped male and female anatomy. Some paintings feature extra limbs on draped torsos or gowned bodies surrounding faces. Gender hybrid forms are created. In many cases I have even emptied out the satin forms and inverted them so as to highlight the uncertainty as to what type of fleshly body may have created that shape. My intention is to invite the viewer to make sense of the ambiguity; to decide which is male or female, dominant or submissive, up or down or if it even matters.

I have confined my exploration to the contemporary use of satin in the West. Yet I am ever aware of older images of sumptuous satin drapery found in old-masters painting. Satin speaks of class and status even as it displays the body. Yet, a fabric once reserved for the rich can now be easily acquired by anyone.   My painted figures may be considered stylishly high class, or gauche or some other hybrid aesthetic form. I like to think that through my paintings, viewers may contemplate biases about the ideal form and presumptions about aesthetics surrounding gender and intersect them with notions of class to make for complicated conversations.