An artist’s expression is a vulnerable one, a search for self identity, and a statement of their place in the world, or what they perceive to be their place in the world. It is communication whereby we, as artists, provide a dialog for interaction between ourselves and those who engage with the work, regardless if they like it or not, or understand it or not.
Is all art erotic?
I believe that yes it is, in that all art is playfully engaging the mind, the emotions, and maybe even the physical senses. Art is sensual in all aspects of the word. All art is suggestive and vulnerable by its request for your participation. Art is created from desire, a desire to explore, to discover, to understand, and to be understood.
But what makes something erotic?
Eroticism is only perceived through emotion and imagination. The mystical, the uncanny, the provocative, the forbidden, the hidden. There are varying levels of what one can consider as erotic, each as flexible as individual boundaries allow. The erotic can be fun and playful, it can be sexy, it can be thoughtful, it can be intelligent. For some, erotic can be nonsense, it can be elusive, evocative, mysterious, and metaphoric. For others, it can be descriptive, illustrative, explicit. It is always a mirror reflecting our vulnerability.
The erotic can be all of this, experienced on the journey from one’s self, our journey on the way to la petite mort: the giving up of one’s identity in order to facilitate a spiritual union with the divine.
Many works in the current Okanagan Erotic Art Show, and many of the other Erotic Art Shows I have seen, have a great deal of work relating to the female form. As an artist, I ask myself is that an easy out? Is it such a cliche that simply by having a female, the artist has 90% of the work done for them? And on the other hand, I think some people think that any work containing a female nude is erotic, simply by her presence. Maybe both theories are right.
Many believe the female form is symbolic of the highest form of sensual expression. Through imagination, it can be manifested, for example, in landscapes, and food. The feminine brand suggests to us the mysteries of life and the universe; it suggests rumours of the unknown. In human understanding, the female body is representative of all sacred space: from the juncture of tree limbs, to groves in a forest, to the rolling hills, to the hidden spaces within fruit and foods where seeds are kept, to man-made places where one “worships” or “creates”.
The feminine and aspects of the female form, represent our interpretation and evocation of the universe, and that mysterious, life-giving energy to which we long to unite, and embrace, and succumb. For the male artist and viewer, it is an offering to request entry in to that divine space, but for the female it is to self-actualize, for she is already there.