ARTIST STATEMENT, ACCOMPANYING "NUDE ON NUUANU AVENUE" EXHIBITION, ABACUS STUDIO, HONOLULU, 2/14/97
© 1997 By Rudolf Helder
|First off: saying something about my own paintings is almost a contradiction in terms because I strive to say it all with my art. So then, what's left to say?
A few things still on my mind, just to invite the viewer to look once again.
I aim to reveal, not to conceal. Enter the nude. I embrace the dynamism of the human form, especially the female form, to which I am naturally partial, naturally aroused by its otherness, its other halfness. A mystery in form, meaning and evoked emotion, the nude allows communion with our origin and presents man's vulnerability at a primary level.
Especially the female nude has historically communicated the state of worldly affairs, offering contemplation with her appearance as an icon anchored in the attention of the public, the courts, the church, artists and philosophers, either captured by a poet with a paintbrush, or a hunk with pneumatic hammer.
Someone once remarked that I seem to love women more than men. What he probably was trying to say was that my attraction in actuality borders on admiration.
It's kind of hard to paint without passion.
I look at woman as being softer and gentler by nature, although nowadays required to be harder in order to co-exist in a society dominated by testosterone posturing and looming industrial conflict. With the emergence of women in politics, that dreaded territory of rhetoric and impotent vision, and in business, where women must compete by strapping on that same noose that has subdued the twentieth century man the world over, she may fall prey to trading in those same properties that have always made her the wiser, warmer, and more attractive counter part of our species.
It's not mothers sending their sons into armed conflict, fathers do, in their cavemanesque desire to glorify the male brandishing of muscle, their peanut-sized active brain parts bulging with megalomanic desires.
But I do not dislike men. We get along just fine. Women, however, possess something I covet and I may not do them justice in my paintings, in spite of my intentions. I may not be that good a painter. I am also not looking to present women as an ideal, as an air-brushed variety. I am looking at her with the mercilessness of a curious lover. By painting her I may reveal an aspect of her personality, a paragraph of her personal history. I am accepting her, not decepting her, and by doing so I accept myself as an artist.
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