2009 PRECIOUS BLOOD
The Precious Blood series was inspired by my fascination with the more
baroque, set-piece rituals of Roman Catholicism and the reverent
portraits of female saints – typically chaste, showing only veiled head
and shoulders – that once inspired Frida Kahlo. Through rough sketches
based on a series of Polaroid self-portraits I shot in 2000, I began
re-imagining these images with me in the tense but faintly erotic grip of
an ecstatic holiness.
The resulting paintings were executed on hand-crafted 1.0m x 1.5m timber
boards, with the same figure – somewhat flat in perspective, in the manner
of the 15th century painter, Piero Della Francesca – on the same pale pink
background, black rosary beads entwined in her fingers, a suggestive smear
of blood at the edge of her pale lips. The repetition reinforces a cinematic
impression while also reflecting the convention of early religious painting in
which the portrayal of a particular saint were often very similar – if not
exactly the same – even from artist to artist.