Alex Curran-Rooke

Man and woman, historically, are not depicted equally in painting. Women’s depictions tend to take on a more passive role, usually serving a sexual function. Their depictions are often a reclined state, or a limp understated gesture of action. A man’s role is that of the hero, who directs the narrative with heroic action and dynamic vigour.

I try to tackle this in my work by interpreting a painting’s compositional geometry, and the story or myth it depicts, in order to make a new painting more suited to contemporary culture. My paintings often adopt these characteristics in order to make a reflexive statement, making concrete connections between my painting and older paintings they are based on.

In attempts to convey a stronger sense of equality, I incorporate imagery of dance. I believe that dance is one of the few mediums that you can commonly see man and woman in a state of equality. Each participant publicly displays an equal level of passion, physicality and intensity. By adopting this imagery, I hope to depict a narrative role with figures of equal agency. This conveys, if any, romantic sexuality as opposed to the passive sexuality we are used to in oil paintings.