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HER
ella russell

MATERIALS: ACRYLIC AND OIL ON CANVAS, ACRYLIC AND FOUND OBJECT FRAME

INFLUENCES:  JOCELYN HOBBIE, FLORENCE BROADHURST, FRIDA KAHLO, JOHANNES VERMEER, MATHEW CERLETTY

Her consists of five portraits of my sister that portray my understanding of femininity with reference to the history of portraiture. 


I have presented a theme of femininity that is personal to me but also incorporates traditionally recognised ‘feminine’ signs and symbols such as flowers, mirrors, domestic patterning and soft colours. 


I developed my ideas by reviewing the history of artistic expression of the feminine form. In ancient art, femininity was often expressed symbolically in terms of fertility and motherhood; however, I have developed a more contemporary perspective. 


Four of the portraits are painted on canvas and one is painted on an acrylic mirror, first with acrylic, then oil paint. The oil paint has been used to create smooth surfaces, achievable with thin layers to literally and symbolically soften the female subject.
Inspired by Jocelyn Hobbie’s art practice, the soft and delicate texture of her paintings and her focus on patterning in her compositions, I aspired to achieve the soft appearance of skin as well as the subject immersed in floral or patterned backgrounds. Appropriating the patterns designed by Florence Broadhurst, I created contrasting backgrounds of flat colour and detailed elements referencing domesticity and textile patterning. 


The mirror painting was inspired by Mathew Cerletty who creates compositions full of flowers and mirrors. The use of the reflection in the mirrored surface aims to draw the viewer in, and inspire them to embark on their own journey of self-reflection. 
Each canvas painting also subtlety references the history of portraiture, appropriating elements of iconic portraits from artists including Frida Kahlo, Vermeer’s The Girl with the Pearl Earring, as well as references to the convention of ‘The Madonna’ in medieval art. 


Using these portraits for inspiration, I was able to represent my own definition of femininity through painting.

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