This series centers on my husband in our first apartment's pink ceramic bathroom. As he would uncloak to bathe, he started to become comfortable in his own skin. Since our relationship as married partners inherently provided a platform for me to intimately view him, as a burgeoning anatomy student I took advantage of this in-house male specimen on which to affirm my new insight about human structure. But he resisted being objectified. As as I pursued his permission to develop this series with him, I began turning 'the male gaze' inward through my model's recalcitrant complicity. But as I wasn't yet ready to permit myself to have a "provocative 'female gaze,'" I captured each image with the intention of stripping implied sexual expectation out of the scene while gently reinforcing the introverted sensuality. This approach acknowledges a tender nod to Degas and Caillebotte, and through my work I broaden the perception of contemporary masculinity, the relationship between artist and muse, and the environments through which virility is described.
A note on the title of this series: "Brown Pink"
"(Brown) PINK" is a name for a tube of paint on the painter’s palette: a transparent, bloody kind of hue. (As I usually ground my paintings in an earthy red to enhance fleshy undertones, Brown Pink is one of my favorite pigments to use.) One might assume that pink is a description of the hue - however, the term “pink” has nothing to do with the appearance of the actual color. The word "pink" instead refers to an historic manufacturing process used to create a transparent dye derived from varied sources of various hues. It has a wide range, being able to glaze warm and tint cool. Learning about this pigment's history - and re-examining my expectations of what labels are able to describe - has opened up my perception of how things may have more than one use, more than one description, and may be capable of so much more than how they are simply labeled.
"BROWN" is also the name of my husband (Braun). A redhead, the transparency of his skin often blended in with the rosy hue of our first bathroom's tiles. Our "toilette" activities often overlapping in the morning of our marriage (with no shower curtain on the tub and only one water closet in the apartment), I found myself questioning what I actually saw, and what I thought I should see. I then began to tie this internal inquiry to a larger vein of how masculinity in contemporary culture is depicted and assumed. I have found it is a rare male who allows anyone to see his 'soft pink underbelly' so I paint this un-idealized male in unguarded vulnerability as a recording of my own experience as well as a totem for a broader view of the male nude. This series has now become the fertile soil from which my other work grows - searching deeper, more intimately, for the naked human soul underneath skin's shield.