Everything I Never Told You

‘Everything I never told you’ is the title of a children’s book. The artist sees the metaphor of nakedness as a revealing of our deepest and truest selves. Only those who deeply care about us can have access to our “naked” selves.

The 1970’s saw a burgeoning of female artists focusing on ways in which the female body is presented, particularly focusing on female objectification; where a woman is viewed as an object whilst a man is the viewing subject. In the history of painting this dominant view came to be identified and named the ‘male gaze’. The theoretical gaps of the ‘male gaze’ have been challenged, especially that of race and gender orientation presuming the ‘male gaze’ to mean masculinized spectators. The original theory did not include the possible range of diversity and resistance to the ‘male gaze’.

Here, Bernice considers a less obvious and opposing view of the female body using pen and ink drawings rendered on lightweight acid free paper, displayed in suspension so both the front and the reverse side of the image can be viewed. The reverse side is more ethereal and mysterious than the ‘front’ view, presuming the ‘front’ view to be explicit. It is a resistant view in that the sensuousness of the body is subtle and the subject may have more ownership of how she wishes to be viewed in the context of figure drawing.