Feminist painter, Joan Semmel’s nude portraits & self portraits, stare back at us from the canvas & eschew the taboo of mature / female / sexuality. A link to her site is under Blogroll.

I’m in admiration of Joan Semmel’s work of female imagery with its strenuous messages, sometimes of a woman, nude, holding a camera, ‘staring’ back at us. It seems to speak directly to us as if to say: ‘this is who I am and there is nothing more natural’. Her work flicks away the taboo of portraying the mature female nude, sexual or not; disrupts our notion of gripping on to youthfulness (or youthful beauty) beyond reason; and proves again that the medium of painting is not going to die when it can show texture like the flesh of the body, together with choice of perspective, in a way that frames the difficult idea as authentic and palatable – indeed, beautiful.

Earlier paintings of Joan Semmel below explore different ways of painting the female figure, stepping away from dictated views to show the everyday functioning body.

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