More Nudes in Colour
2010 by Keith Farquhar
Seen at Studio Voltaire; www.keithfarquhar.co.uk
Farquhar’s photographs More Nudes in Colour are a sequence of painted nude portraits – painted in the sense that Farquhar literally paints his models; nude in his focusing in on deliberately provocative parts of the body, mainly the crotch and buttocks. They range from bare skin carefully cast with a splatter of colour to heavily built-up painterly conquests. The example we have here is certainly the latter, where the medium and density of the paint almost distracts from the frankness of the image we are presented with. Bare and sensitive skin is thickly coated with richly warm and luxurious multi-colour. There is a decadence about the range of colour scattered across the rounds of the thigh – its surface shining with a marble-like splendour in a colourafic celebration of form. The intensity of the almost lurid greens and turquoises that surround the vagina give the area a fantastical warmth – far from the typical warmth of pinks and reds, turquoise is fuelled with the fantasy of the mythical and the unreal. This centre creates a cascading sea of blues and greens, which the flickers of orange and yellow rising from the legs and the curl of crimson blushing from the stomach adhere and swirl to. Painting reality and then photographing it allows Farquhar to play with the boundaries of portrait, photograph, sculpture and painting – he effectively turns these bodies into works of art in their own right, albeit temporary. This nude appears frozen, a sculpture, rather than a breathing body and the covering of skin with a very different sort of liveliness is as interesting as it is inviting.