Posted by Judi Coe on 5th March 2008
In the Experimentation in Form Series (see Images) my objective was to generate a concept of ‘construction’ – a clear example of materials and objects being brought together, with the aim to emphasise the similarity between art and science, both historically and conceptually. The pulling together of seemingly disparate elements to produce something new and groundbreaking is one of the most consistent similarities between art and science.
The main idea was to juxtapose Henry Moore’s Sculptures in the Yorkshire Sculpture Park with imagery derived from female laboratory anatomical models and Playboy - Bunny Girls. The interplay and fragmentation of several images highlights the pulling together of disparate but inter-connected ideas.
I was interested in exploring Henry Moore‘s distortion and fragmentation of the female nude. The distorted, surreal nature of Moore’s sculptures suggests a transformation or metamorphosis of the human figure. Moore elongates or enlarges parts of the human form but rarely loses altogether the human reference. The heavy plinths are contrasted by the sculptures, which are usually captured in a state of constant dynamic tension between the natural and the unnatural; points of human recognition are disrupted by points of abstraction.
The advancement of early modernism in art can be characterised by the fragmentation and dissection of the female nude by the male artist. My aim was to investigate the comparisons in the use of the female body in relation to the development of genetics experimentation. The re-ordering of genes and the cross-over of human and animal DNA creates parallels with artistic experimentation at the beginning of the last century and the scientific experimentation of this century.
The Playboy - Bunny Girl highlights the cross-over between the animal and human as well as an exploitive nature and dehumanising implications of the power of transformation. The Playboy image of the Bunny Girl reduced to a half woman / half rabbit highlights moral, ethical and aesthetical development of genetic engineering and the role the female animal/human plays in this experimentation.
The painting Brave New World 2008 refers to Aldous Huxley’s book of the same title. I was interested in Huxley’s concept of dystopian Fordism in reproductive technology and biological engineering.
The painting consists of two identical anatomical female models encased in one of Henry Moore’s abstract sculptures. The painting is composed of two picture planes: one acrylic on canvas, the other oil bar on Perspex, which is then scratched off. The scratching of the surface turns a positive into a negative – the underlying painting is revealed with the scratch mark, which in turn creates a reactive surface reminiscent of an etching. This enables the foreground and background to interact and create a transparent amalgamation.
Neil Morley 2008