name. Stephanie Sy-Quia
right now. Graduate in English Language and Literature
Can you describe the moment you wanted to capture?
I started with the male nude. I had the simple aim of objectifying the male form. It may sound basic, but it doesn’t happen nearly as much as you might think. I chose to do a reclining nude because it is a particularly underrepresented pose in the male nudes of Western art (perhaps because it has, for so long, been associated with acquiescent [read: female] sexuality). To my great amusement, every single man who has seen it has picked it up and turned it clockwise ninety degrees, as if the print were depicting a man standing up. Because this would be a more dominant pose, I think it reveals an interesting reluctance, on the part of its male viewers, to contemplate it as a representation of receptive, resting male sexuality. I was particularly inspired by the prints of Eric Gill. His biography makes for very disturbing reading, but his frank depictions of Jesus’s sexuality and relationship with Mary Magdalen are refreshing.
With the kissing couple and the entwined couple, I wanted to play with conveying romantic equality. I was inspired by the drawings of Jean Cocteau, their innocence in particular.
The reclining female nude is carved on a 2” square block, so I didn’t have much room for detail. I was interested in the way human musculature can create converging lines, like the orthogonals of a painting. Of course, in a painting, orthogonals shoot away from us - they are the architecture of perspective - and they meet at a vanishing point. In this print, the vanishing point eludes us, there is no perspective, and there is no perceived distance.
I only started carving linocut prints in the summer of 2017, so I am still figuring out my style. The appeal of linocut prints is the physicality of the process - it’s closer to sculpture than drawing. It forces you to slow down and focus on controlling the blade. If its slips, you can ruin your whole block.
Reclining Female Nude
Where were you when you realised you wanted to make this piece of art?
Where do you dream of living?
A city by the sea where the sun casts sharp clean shadows, with plenty of fresh fruit.
Were you listening to music when you created this piece?
HAIM, Something to Tell You
Dire Straits, Brothers in Arms
John Fruiscante, ‘Murderers’
What does nude remind you of?
Sunday mornings, which are happy, rather than Sunday afternoons, which are miserable.
The difference between the naked and the nude has been much-discussed. To me, nudity is nakedness with an agenda.