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Drawing: Chalk, Charcoal, Paper on Paper.
EKR Schlegel is a figurative artist whose experience in a world of art and career as a professional model have given her a unique perspective on life, love and the changes we go through as our bodies age and our lives evolve. Her work is predominantly acrylic on canvass or board in concert with charcoal rendering.
Schlegel turned to art to express her emotions during a period of personal upheaval as her own identity and sexual familiarity became uncertain. Plodding forward in the face of her own challenges – including the onset of dementia in her mother, a sexual awakening in her husband of 17 years and a growing awareness of the changes in her own aging body – Schlegel explored the means to visualize the conflict between mind and body, between sexuality and identity, and the dichotomy between defined beauty and perfection in a society wrought with natural flaws.
Using a three-pronged approach, Schlegel first forms an intimate connection with her subjects and undertakes dialogue in the context of their self-image, their bodies and their sexuality. She photographs her subjects, stripping away everything they can hide from: clothing, assumptions and even their faces, thus removing the mask that identifies them to most people – and to themselves. These images are then interpreted onto canvass or board from the photographs, dispensing with her continued interpersonal involvement and leaving only the residue of the artist’s emotional connection with the subject.
The finished works maintain a sense of incompletion, reflecting the state of flux her subjects are feeling, personally, as they work through their own issues and continue searching for their “true” selves. This quality of the “unfinished”, suggests Schlegel’s subjects, are essentially a “work in progress.”
Schlegel’s paintings from photographic portraits are the basis of her continuing project entitled “Body and Mind” which undertakes a larger study of friends, family and strangers in a series of frontal nudes.
*Drawings on newsprint are delicate in nature due to the fragility of the paper and as such the edges will show wear and tear. Images shown have been slightly cropped.