When I started to paint figures I rendered them in very abstract ways as to avoid difficult details and show the human form in a creative and unique way. Most of these figures were so abstract that there was no obvious gender for the viewer to recognize. But as I developed my skills and started to render humans in a more realistic style I didn’t hesitate to balance my male and female forms. This is to say, that I made an instinctual decision to paint just as many men as I did women. This made a lot of sense to me because I felt like both forms were inherently beautiful and each had many stories to tell through raw physicality. But in my experience viewing art in person in galleries and on social media the majority of other figure painting artists seem to focus solely on the female form. This is a broad generalization of course but it does beg the question of why?
Many artist seem to capitalize on the inherent sexuality of the female form while adding a hint of mystery and aloofness that can captivate the viewer. I can also understand that the female form can have a natural vulnerability to it that can be enhanced through a painting. But this is exactly my point. I feel that the male form is (for the most part) avoided in artist renderings because people aren’t comfortable seeing the image of a man in a vulnerable state. There are thousands of artistic images of women in poses that show vulnerability, sensitivity and openness to the viewer. But these qualities are not traditionally associated with a man so they are not portrayed as frequently in art.
Not that I see myself as a rebel but I do have a strong appreciation for the male form and I think it has a lot to say to a viewer. In my paintings of men I want to show the inherent strength in the form while also showing emotional vulnerability and self contemplation. I hope to continue to illustrate both sexes as multidimensional beings who are both complex and beautiful.