Roy and I have worked together on 8 projects previously, some rather demanding. His body and skin, the hue, texture, smell are familiar, thus the desire to explore it has developed to become a joint desire to investigate his and the viewers’ haptic, visceral response to substances on his skin. Continues below gallery…
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Roy is a very frontal person, so this tries to capture that. It is about fronting up, making big in front of the audience. It is about his inner joy, his warmth of smile. He described himself as being in a yellow mood that day – bright sun, lifted freer and lighter. It is a reaction against grey nothingness.
Therefore the cut-lines were devised to open the skin from the back forwards, and the painting scheme used dark blues/blacks/purples along the intended cut zones in order to provide “coastlines” to the main body/land when opened out.
As a child, Roy always felt his face was quite different to other kids. He says this derives from his African and Native American heritage. Considerable care and new techniques were used when opening the skin to ensure the facial area did not distort.
The nature of the exploration is evidenced by the paint marks, the traces, which further share the artist’s exploration with the viewer. The real detail of the paint marks, and the cracking of the paint/clay combinations may trigger a haptic affect in the viewer. The studies are shown in Roy Joseph Butler 7, studies.
The end result is perhaps rather startling. It is joyous – an image that seems to draw the viewer in to inspect its detail. It is also very geographic, suggesting an island with a jagged coastline and rich topography. We are all islands in this world.
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