Winterlude, is a body of work composed of oil paintings, exploring the notion of decay and the female body. The subjects in the paintings are sailboats, abstracted and visually explored. I begin by focusing on a specific part of the boat, generally a zoomed in perspective. I then use color and shade to represent the image and simplify the work into abstract forms. The sailboats in the images have been left out for winter, and collect leaves and other matter. As both a sailor and an artist, the boat is interpreted to me dually. First, it serves a functional purpose, to stay afloat, to keep water from entering. I find it interesting when these boats are depicted away from their functional purpose, and full of water, it’s as if to say they have now lost their value. I interpret them secondly as a metaphor for the body, in particular, the female body. It is hard to ignore the female connotations associated with the body of a boat, for example, referring to a boat as a “she”.

The nature depicted in the image can be seen as a parallel for society and the painting as a whole, a metaphor for societal decay on the female body. By painting these images I am recognizing the weight of decay upon the body, a gradual deterioration to an inferior state. The female body, like the leaves in fall, grows old, and eventually dies, however, the leaves will grow back. The same is true in society, collectively the human race continues on in generations, the old pass and make way for the new. Yet while the season change is annual and the old leaves must be shed to make room for the new, the deterioration of the body is permanent, irreversible. The boat then, can be seen as vulnerable. Unprotected and prematurely exposed to the harsh elements of nature, left to accumulate matter and speed up the natural process of death.

Debbi Kenote

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Debbi Kenote