Celia Hempton. Getting rid of four small cup containers from her case, each marked by having a white label and containing thimbles


Celia Hempton. Getting rid of four small cup containers from her case, each marked by having a white label and containing thimbles

Galleria Lorcan O’Neill, Rome, Italy

Getting rid of four small cup containers from her bag, each marked by having a white label and containing thimbles of ochre-coloured fluid, Celia Hempton presents me personally with very carefully blended scents which are designed to echo the fragrance of, well, a vagina. Fulfilling Hempton when it comes to time that is first there will be something strangely and instantly individual about it trade; when you look at the many incongruous of settings, a busy cafГ©, we raise each container to my nose to have these subtly sweet aromas that remember the essential personal of corporeal moments.

Celia Hempton, Jo, 2014, oil on canvas, 25 x 30 cm. Courtesy: Galleria Lorcan O’Neill, Rome

The artist’s that is london-based exhibition (on until 30th June 2014) is simply as intimate, presenting 13 canvases that depict close up views of both male and female genitalia. Each artwork has a striking, visual register and it is bathed in bright color. Lemon yellowish, pale red, turquoise blue and lime green create a mood of hot vibrancy. This is certainly flesh at its most appealing; rendered with delicate brush strokes shining luminously with rainbow hues. Several of the canvases are set up upon history wall paintings; cool, hazy washes of patchwork color supplying a wider landscape where the figures that are nude.

There clearly was a confident, or even aggressive, overtone to the imagery, painted with candour and hung in the wall surface at attention degree. Each canvas is en en titled because of the title associated with the sitter – Eddie, Kamal, Justine, Caspar, Erasmus – evoking for the viewer something comparable to a portrait that is facial inverted. The musician produces each work from life, her models (frequently buddies) posing all day at any given time. She defines just how there was an unequal vulnerability in this trade, her attention scrupulously examining and reproducing these private parts.

Celia Hempton, Kamal, oil on canvas, 2014, 61 x 51 cm. Courtesy: Galleria Lorcan O’Neill, Rome

The partnership between vulnerability, publicity and exhibitionism was radically afflicted with the context of today’s hyperactive digital areas – the curtain of this blue movie cinema is replaced with a pc display screen. Exactly exactly exactly How is this shifting attitudes towards flesh and sexuality for generation online 2.0? A present BBC study revealed this 1 in four teenagers view that is first at the chronilogical age of twelve or under. Hempton’s body of work en en titled ‘Chat Roulette’ (that will be exhibited at Southard Reid, London, in 2014) responds to this development october. Utilising the website chatroulette.com, which links you via your cam along with other new users at random, she ‘meets’ and paints anonymous topics. Darker in both color palette and environment, these canvases become nearly abstracted within their depiction of flesh; pixilation blurs quality, yellowish and blue light recalls the glare associated with monitor during the night in just an interior space that is grungy. The artist defines exactly just how this ‘subject matter has a feeling of backwoods or indifference about any of it — the conversation is less personal.’

By mediating the intimate encounter, making systems and areas of figures anonymous, does the world wide web depersonalize the encounter that is sexual? There is certainly an irony that is strange candid sexual material potentially forging states of isolation – the pornographic up close shot purposely cuts out of the face through the act of fucking, excluding the part of the human body in which one is many often identifiable. Hempton’s canvases at Lorcan O’Neill Gallery are individuated, painted from life, and appear to recommend a mode of countering this state; the purity of line, clean color palette and sharp concept of works such as for instance Jo (2014) look for to reactivate flesh – they are maybe not deconstructed bodies, separated organs, nevertheless the colourful and sensual personal areas of people who have names.

Celia Hempton, Caspar, 2014, oil on canvas, 31 x 36 cm. Courtesy: Galleria Lorcan O’Neill, Rome

Gustav Courbet’s L’Origine du monde (1866), using its translucent pale epidermis exposed beneath dense dark locks, is named in your thoughts as is Egon Schiele’s work, or nudes by Brücke designers Max Pechstein and Ernst Ludwig Kirchner. Hempton’s paintings build upon this history, problematizing the notion of the gendered gaze – Hempton speaks of various registers of sex and exactly how ‘sometimes once I paint personally i think like a lady, often personally i think just like a child.’ Are her pictures comparable to Manet’s Olympia (1863), boldly claiming the autonomy of the topics? The musician defines her desire for another work by Manet, The Ham (1880), delighting in its anthropomorphic character, advised sex and visceral appeal.


The democratization that is internet’s of has shifted the purpose of guide when it comes to nude and music artists are increasingly giving an answer to this environment. In a day and age where we could see such a thing we wish in the simply simply click of a switch, Hempton’s paintings use modes of detached voyeurism, or accurate observation, to subversively reactivate the self and instill flesh with a feeling of specific subjectivity.