Feminist & artist. Writing & visuals.

Artist: Alex Skinner

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Alex Skinner body hair

Alex Skinner is an artist from London, Ontario and has just finished the advanced diploma in Fine Art at Fanshawe College. In September she will be starting at NSCAD University as an advance standing student and will finish her BFA there. I was immediately drawn to her Hair painting series, in which there is a tactile quality that leaves you thinking you might just be able to brush your hand against the stubble. The elegance of the paintings leaves to viewer to reconsider any preconceptions they may have on body hair, and the absence of a definable subject/gender distances us from our culturally conditioned reactions. Photo-realistic, but not an exercise in self-congratulation, they're good paintings, but they're not just good paintings. A self-professed passionate feminist, her intimate works subtly make us question our relationship with our fuzz. In her own words:

"I spend quite a bit of time looking at social issues surrounding gender. My work often reflects this where I have focused on topics of inequality, rape culture and of course body hair."

"The Hair painting series is 12” x 16” (31cm x 41cm) each, oil on canvas. I was interested in painting body hair I think because of the realization that I myself have been conditioned into believing it to be gross and unsanitary. I actually hated body hair when I was starting these paintings. They were derived from another larger painting I did of a woman looking at her armpit hair; it was an attempt to reflect the possibility of choice with our bodies. Continuing with that idea of choice I then decided I liked the idea to extend not just to women but to all genders. So I took macro photos and painted them to erase both the gender and the body region and hopefully make the viewer question the images and further question body hair in relation to gender. The photos are from various friends in various parts of the body. I even had photos of my own hair as I had stopped shaving myself during these projects. The creepy, raunchy photos of skin and hair sort of meet the delicacy of the paintings in a way that I was fascinated with and I felt rather liberated when I was finished.  "

To keep up to date on Alex Skinner's work, follow her Instagram.