Thursday, 7 October 2010

Kesley Henderson: Beauty in platonic crush

Portraits normally bore me, but not Henderson's, whose work is a brutally honest study in perception and attraction. Her painting style is traditional, normally using oil on large scale canvases, comprised of seemingly invisible layers which connect to her subjects like skin. Lying at the heart of her work, the emphasis on the skin and body enables the artist to continually exploring the idea of the "Platonic Crush", an immediate attraction to someone, without a primary focus on sexual attraction. They reflect encounters with people that you want to look at for a longer period of time (without being creepy), rather than just brushing past them in the street.  Using a desaturated palette, these excruciatingly pale portraits become almost translucent. The bones, bruises, scars, veins and tendons shine through, not as imperfections, but emblems of beauty. Describing these obsessions, the collection of crushes, Henderson says, “The people I select are neither flawless nor of a conventional charm; rather, their raw and real beauty creates a uniqueness which draws interest to my paintings.”

Kesley's photographic realism paintings can also be related to fashion photography through the subject’s dress, stance and eye contact. Check out the short film below produced by FLY 16x9 fashion and art web channel, New York, who followed Kelsey during her work and documented the creation of oil paintings during a Christian Dior shoot with models Masha and Toni. The direction was carried out by Melissa O'Brien.

Platonic crush from FLY16x9 on Vimeo.

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