Zoe Catherine Kendall, artist, writer and human...


Thursday, 6 December 2012


An Interpretation of Synaesthesia and The Senses for Fabelist.

Perhaps controversially, I have decided to explore the sensuality and heightened sensory awareness that can occur during an intimate, sexual encounter. This involves the anticipation of something, the tension between participants or the tension across a stretched surface of skin. Perhaps even more controversially, I am exploring the heightened tension and sensory experience involved in BDSM.
I have been experimenting in the studio for a couple months, deciding the best way to approach the subject. As usual I am interested in text as well as visual imagery. I will attempt to use both of these methods in unison.

In order to increase the sensory and synaesthetic experience, I am collaborating with composer and musician Eunseog Lee who will be contributing to the tension, aprehension and the sense of restraint and response using chords and melodies on the piano forte.

I want the listening viewer to be left with an idea of this act for two in their mind, I want to invite them into the sensory experience, to create the atmosphere and the mood...

My visual imagery identifies with a female persona, a muse, an object of desire. Her subjugation perversely translates into her own desire, desire which resides just beyond reach. The result is a very interesting dynamic between two. However, with only the submissive side portrayed, a space is left open for the viewer to step into the role of protagonist. If this role is not comfortable, the viewer may default to bystander, voyeur or choose to relate to the female muse.

Her body and pose reveal tension and alertness. Her attention is focused as if only aware of her confined anticipation for another's will to be acted out and the following sensory reaction to occur: the sensations of pain, pleasure and physical release. Moreover the psychological release as her mind wanders from a vision of herself toward elements of sound, light, taste, colour and friction.

Her body is under stress, it is tense, taut, stretched out. I have been experimenting with oil paint on cotton. The fabric is unprimed so that the paint seaps in and the materiality remains fluid. For me, the cotton represents skin, flesh. I can stretch it to hang it and I can play with this tautness of the fabric to imply degrees of strain.

On the cotton, the viewer sees a painted image of her body emerging from the darkness into a pool of light. It is as if nothing else exists, all eyes, all ears, all awareness is pointed at her or located in her body. All other reality is momentarily suspended. All senses are gathered and bound together. This scene is furnished with hers and your full attention.

The black brush strokes surrounding the female are evocative of the lines a whip might leave across the skin or the shape and movement they would make as they travelled through the air around her body. 

The images which follow include the paintings described above, as well as other experimental work I've been trying out for the theme.