Crystal Barbre

10th January 2015 | Alice Taylor

Weirdly, whilst thinking about wiping the dust of my paint brushes today I came across these explicit, surreal paintings by Crystal Barbre. Reading more about her, I came across this excerpt from an interview with The Better Bombshell in her blog which helped me understand the concept behind her series of images.

“We live in a society that constantly floods us with sexually charged images. In advertising, movies, music, and television, we’re awash in sexual imagery, but our society is still very reticent to talk about sexuality in any sort of in-depth or introspective way. This dichotomy makes it very hard for any artist, man or woman, to use sexually charged images in their work.

I think men and women have separate and unique challenges in creating work with edgy sexual content. Men who create this kind of work are often assumed to have questionable motives. They are seen as exploiting images of women and using sexual imagery for their own ends. I have a lot of sympathy for men that are trying to explore sexual themes because they have to work on a very short leash or are assumed to be chauvinistic or exploitative.

Women, on the other hand, work from the opposite side of the spectrum. We are expected to create “feminine” work, which is often absent of sexual themes. It is an idealistic notion that women can now be accepted as complete and layered individuals with all the sexual desires, flaws, and challenges that men have. My experience tells me that this notion, while desirable, is not yet a reality. Women have come a long way in establishing themselves as individuals independent of the expectations of Victorian ideas of “femininity,” but the old ideas still hold a very firm grip on much of our society – whether consciously or not.

It is my hope that by continuing to explore my own assumptions about sexuality as a woman and as a person, with curiosity and desire to examine myself and my constantly changing social landscape, I will be lucky enough to find other people who are willing to engage with me about their own discoveries. I’m not trying to create “shock art,” but instead am seeking to act with full agency as a sexual being without being told who I am, what I am, and how I am supposed to act. I refuse to bow to historical gender expectations and limitations.  I hope my work can, in a small way, help do this for others as well.”

Can’t say I’ll be painting anything as thought provoking as this today…

Via: Crystal Barbre, The Better BombshellBeautiful Decay