Winner: Cass Art x Phoenix Studio Award 2020 in partnership with The University of Brighton
Two people described one of my paintings as ‘nice’, so I did not include it in this exhibition. I don’t want my paintings to be ‘nice’. I want them to hurt. I am testing the boundaries of taste. I am playing with the contradiction of attraction and repulsion. The figures in the paintings are strong, powerful, larger than life, not delicate, fragile or ‘nice’. They are not the way the male gaze has often portrayed women in art history. Throughout this history, women have been painted as passive objects. Contrary to this form of painting, and whilst exploring the themes of women’s beauty, sexuality, sex working, coronavirus and loneliness, my paintings include females who are the ones in control. They know you are here; they want you to look at them, and they will look straight back, in order to challenge and confront the male gaze, along with patriarchal society.