“The body is always present in painting,” suggests the Paper Gallery feature in the Spring Summer 2022 print edition of Elephant. “Even in its figurative absence, ghosts of the human form can be seen everywhere, each gesture hinting at the physical and emotional state of the person who created it…”
Each issue our Paper Gallery features takes a different thread running through art and unpicks its significance to the work of a selection of artists. In the most recent issue we look at the way that the human body pushes its way into even the most abstract of art.
The physicality of Donna Huanca’s paintings lies as much in their making as the finished canvas. “Created by thrusting human forms against their surfaces,” they’re often displayed as part of live performances featuring nude dancers coated in streaks of the colours she uses. “Bodies functioning as both paintbrush and surface,” explains the issue.
“Ghosts of the human form can be seen everywhere, each gesture hinting at the physical and emotional state of the person who created it”
Jadé Fadojutimi’s process, meanwhile, could be described as a full-body experience. “Painting is an intimate activity for Fadojutimi,” we argue, saying that “her confident, jagged marks suggest a body in action, channeling gut feelings.” Finally, there’s Pam Evelyn who “teases the viewer with suggestions of human shapes, exploring portrait compositions and leaving ghostly forms on the canvas.”
“The works of all three artists invite the viewer to wonder what kind of people those bodies might belong to”
There is no doubt that bodies have been here, we argue. “The works of all three artists invite the viewer to wonder what kind of people those bodies might belong to.” Examine the full-page images that accompany the feature and decide for yourself whether you agree.
Emily Steer is Elephant’s editor