She Banks Down Fire (after Hans Holbein the Younger) Oil on Canvas 200 x 30cm 2021
Once Upon a Time : Met HimPike Hoses (after Hans Holbein the Younger) Oil on Canvas 180 x 26cm 2022
Almost exactly 500 years since the painter Hans Holbein painted ‘The Body of the Christ in the Tomb’ (1521) now in the Kunstmuseum, Basle. Much has been written about the claustrophobic emaciated figure, savagely all too human. What is shown here the artist's own box bed, underwear, used tissues, discarded knickers, damp towels. Holbein’s Christ’s dark blood caked on a wound made by a spear is the more humdrum monthly sanguine staining . The ridged hollowness of the ribcage, the spines of underwire, the stiff black hair, see-thru nylon. De Beauvoir reminds us that women are made from Adam’s supernumerary bone, ‘that humanity is male and man defines woman not in herself but as relative to him. He is the Subject ‘(here like Christ), ‘she is the Other.’ Jonathan Jones writes about Holbein’s Christ corporality , ‘There is nothing Christlike about this body, nothing to set it apart. It is anyone's corpse.’ This is world in which the women all live, all women, every month, every child is a reminder of the mortal, bloody, messy, fleshy real.
The partner to 'She Banks Down Fire". Much was said about the figure that Holbein depicted as Christ at the time, being too human, too ordinary, as well as shockingly thin. Called “Once Upon A Time (Met Him Pike Hoses)”, the title is two fold, the first being the princess in a box, awaiting a man's kiss so she can flourish - here pushing her toes against the glass ceiling. The second is referring to the word ’metempsychosis' the supposed transmigration at death of the soul of a human being into a new body, which the character of Molly uses incorrectly (met him pike hoses) in James Joyces’ Ulysees. Used in the title here, because not only is Molly short for Marian/Mary aka Virgin Mary, but because the same narrative is given to girls since Mary and over centuries, reincarnated over and over - await your prince, don't take up too much space, don't leak, sweat or bleed visibly or have body hair, or opinions.