New work, news blog / by Hayley Quentin

I've just finished the first piece I've made in my new studio. It's the first major piece of work I've done in a while (you know how it is), and I've been working with some new styles and techniques compared to my older work. Here's a shot from inside my studio:

After visiting the National Gallery's Barocci: Brilliance and Grace exhibition last month (which was crazy awesome, by the way, so I hope you had a chance to see it), I was blown away by how much more interesting and exciting I found his studies than I did his finished works. I think it's easy (for me, at least) to forget the importance of studies in developing new ideas and processes. It's too easy to just think "Okay, I have this idea, and I want to create a painting, so I'll do a quick drawing and then get to work". The Barocci exhibition sparked off a few weeks where I did nothing but smaller-sized studies, where I tried new ideas for their own sake. I finally found that I wanted to turn the concepts I'd developed into a bigger, final piece, using these techniques as a new way to explore the inversions of gender norms and eroticisms that I find myself coming back to.

What I really like (if you wanted to know) is the way the piece feels very familiar at first - with its beautiful renderings of deep, blood-tinged hues of the flesh (signaling my earlier works) - but then feels less and less comfortable as you look at it, and confronts the sensuality inherent in the depiction. The awkward pose, the discolored painted body; these are more powerful because of the painting's initially non-threatening aesthetic. The dichotomy between the technical/academic and the visceral eroticism challenges the dominant ideologies of male nudes in historical and contemporary painting.

Or something to that effect.