By Laura Franx – BA Illustration
The images shown were made for an exhibition for The Gallery at AUB. The exhibition was called ‘Matisse: Drawing with Scissors’ and my task was to create a response to Matisse’s work, specifically to his paper cuts.
I was inspired by Matisse’s ‘Blue Nudes’, in which he portrays women’s bodies in a very emotive and instinctive manner. My aim was to challenge the historical sexualisation of women through art by applying Matisse’s way of simplifying the depiction of the female body.
Instead of aspiring for an exact portrayal of human anatomy, I decided to deconstruct the body into core shapes, focusing on posture and motion. I emphasised this motion by showing a successive progression of poses which flew from one image to the next. The figures went from small, closed poses progressing onto more open, wide ones. This progression suggests women’s liberation from their oppressive depiction. I split the drawings onto separate boards which would all fit together, leaving empty spaces between them. This not only heightened the sense of movement but also reduced the concentration of colour.
TheGallery granted me with two spaces in which to exhibit my work. I was given full control on my choice of media and presentation. I decided to mimic Matisse’s paper cutting approach using Illustrator, creating clean, sharp edged shapes with the use of the pen tool. I adopted a similar colour palette to Matisse’s, employing only primary colours for the figures and a muted yellow for the background.
As well as human figures I implemented some vegetation motifs, to accompany them and reinforce the composition. Such representations of vegetation are also appreciated in many of Matisse’s pieces.
The project was a great challenge for me as I was exhibiting alongside MA illustration students in such a reputed space which is TheGallery. This motivated me to push my creative thinking and my work ethic. I hope to be collaborating with TheGallery soon as I thoroughly enjoyed the experience.