Vega (i), Pastel on paper, glazed in resin 7.5ft.x10.5ft., 2019
qui vive, Oil on canvas 24in.x36in. 2020
Letting (lividity), Pastel on collaged paper, glazed in resin 8ft.x12ft. 2018
New Baby (study of Emma and Michael), Oil on canvas 14in. x 20in. 2020
To Mine Pastel, paint, resin on collaged paper 7.25ft.x12ft. 2017
In my efforts to take part in feminist discourse through painting, to undertake a responsible seeing of bodies, and to represent those bodies in a manner that troubles the stark delineations and [gendered] power relations of subject/object, I have looked to Joan Semmel as my north star. The workings of positionality and co-extensive space within her paintings place the viewer's gaze within the very body that they look upon - inside the head of the woman (often Semmel, herself) who looks down and out across her body. Applying the tenets of Laura Mulvey's feminist film theory to painting, Semmel destabilizes the scopophilic, patriarchal framework of traditional Western figurative painting by emphasizing the active looking that is done by the camera (as her work is photo-based) and the active looking done by the viewer.
My work concerns the intersubjective encounter, the portrayal of pleasure and intimacy, and practices of radical consent. Following Semmel, I have sought to indicate my own body in the work (sometimes through evident positionality, and/or often through the use of chalk pastel, which immediately indexes my body in the mark of my fingerprint), and the people I paint and draw are ones close to me (Semmel was famously critical of Betty Tompkins' sourcing of pornography in her work).
As I continue to investigate the phenomenological experiences of being naked, of being pleasured, and of seeing and being seen - and the anxieties, uncertainties, and wonder that attend them - Semmel's work continues to inspire.
Ghislaine Fremaux (b. 1986, Washington, DC) holds her MFA from the Pennsylvania State University, conferred in 2012. Her undergraduate studies began at Bard College at Simon's Rock in 2003, and culminated in a BFA from Tufts University with SMFA, Boston, in 2007. She is Associate Professor of Art and Area Chair of Painting at Texas Tech University in Lubbock, TX. Current and recent projects examine consent, bioethics, aging, and the practice of social nudism. In the service of these, Fremaux has collaborated with sociologists, gerontologists, and gastroenterologists, and has garnered funding from Penn State University and Texas Tech University to support these projects. She has exhibited widely both nationally and internationally, with works invited/selected by such as Omar Lopez-Chahoud, Carter E. Foster, Jane Panetta, and Katie Pfohl. Notable solo shows have taken place at K Space Contemporary (Corpus Christi, TX), Valdosta State University (Valdosta, GA), Midwestern State University (Wichita Falls, TX), and Hastings College (Hastings, NE).
In 2019, Fremaux inaugurated a collaborative partnership with Tony Orlando ("Lando") Valdez (b. 1978, Levelland, TX). Their work together, comprised primarily of drawings, concerns the medicalized subject, the carnality of grief, desire, and the bounds of the interior and exterior bodies. They live and work in Lubbock, TX.
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