The Whole Nude Thing

Sometimes it’s so easy to come home and blow off school. I had my monthly stitching meeting, where I embroidered bird parts, birds I may never finish, although that part doesn’t really matter. I embroider because I like it and it’s relaxing. And not everything I do has to be art.

Then I came home and made art…even though some student emailed me about her missing assignment that she turned in last week and I haven’t graded it yet (I actually have time this weekend set aside to deal with the pile of late work, which is always a pain in my butt). I totally ignored her. She’ll get an answer today, no worries, but I might explain that if she turns work in two months late, I don’t feel any real urgency to grade it. Maybe I should take two months to grade it?

Oh yeah, I need that 3-day weekend, let me tell you. Even if I will spend a chunk of it working.

Sorting all the fabric the night before was smart, because it made it really easy to start ironing last night. I started with the rug and the stuff on it…

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Here’s where I work…Kitten supervising. Looking at this makes me think I should spend some time cleaning up the desk, and that is true…because taxes and financial aid need to be done soon and I will need to get through all that paper to do that. Not really looking forward to that.

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Oh yeah. The obligatory Nida crotch shot. The thing is, if you’re going to do nudes, you have to work pretty hard to never show an open crotch shot (and this one isn’t done, by the way). So many male-created female nudes have these lovely lines and fluid motion, but she’s never just sitting there…and if she’s sitting down, legs crossed, dammit. There’s a vulva. And why we’re scared of it? I don’t know. To me it refers to childbirth, to creation, to sexual pleasure, to where we all came out (except those C-section kids). The path we all traveled into existence in the free world. Why are we scared of that? Why does that offend? Why do people FREAK OUT at a crotch shot?

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One of my art friends said something at the opening about where are ya gonna go to see crotches just Wide Open in front of a lot of college students? A Nida exhibit. OK. So there we are. And it’s not porn. I’ve been accused of that too. Why is the vulva porn? None of my work shows pornographic sex or even sex for that matter. Very few penises even, and certainly not used in a pornographic matter. The plain existence of the vulva is porn? Really? When we deal with it every day? It brings periods, delivers babies, gives pleasure, excretes pee? This is porn? That’s pretty utilitarian if you ask me. Nothing to fuss about.

Same with breasts. Hey! There’s gonna be breasts in this quilt too! Breasts are for babies. Yeah, they also apparently stimulate male brains and are good for a number of nerve endings and fill out bras (not a good thing in my book), but we can live without them. And they aren’t evil. Seeing a breast shouldn’t cause paroxysms of outrage. Appreciation for the human form…understanding that when the figure is nude in art, there’s fewer clues about their status, their upbringing, their culture. It’s more about all humans, all women. It’s universal. Even by choosing skin color, hair color, eye color…those already color a viewer’s perception. And you want me to add clothing? I’ve never been a fan of drawing clothing. It’s too fussy. I like bodies and their parts. Always have. Assuming the body is transparent and what’s inside is clearly visible. The systems that make us go, that also can kill us. Way more interesting than pants or a skirt.

So yeah. That’s why the whole nude thing. You’d never ask a white male painter about why he paints nudes. You wouldn’t.

So that’s what I got done yesterday, about 100 pieces. It took longer than I thought it did. Not sure why.

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Torso next. Then 10 arms. Gonna take a while to get through all of those. Yes, 10 arms. Gonna ask me about that too? Well hang on. Wait until all the other stuff is on there and then you can tell me what the quilt is about. Universal theme, I think. At least to a large chunk of the population.

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2 Responses to The Whole Nude Thing

  1. Rebecca says:

    Have you seen the “Free the Nipple” project? The idea is–equality! Men can show theirs; why can’t women?

    I’m afraid American men have so sexualized the breast that that won’t work, but writing that sounds like Muslim extremists requiring the burka (or whatever). Urrgh

    Like

  2. Stephanie says:

    The fact that when I text the word “vulva” on my phone and it auto-corrects to “cul de sac” says something about our society.

    Like

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