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Contemporary Femininity Through The Eyes Of Painter Fipé Gouge Merrall

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The paintings of Australian artist Fipé Gouge Merrall are distinguished primarily by their bright colors and bold lines, depicting the naked female form in varying, familiar poses: relaxed and confident, or brooding and exhausted.

Refreshingly, Merrall does not romanticize the female body. Muscular, curvy, and realistic body shapes are drawn and painted in positions that twist, lean, and bend over the surfaces they are perched on. Merrall uses a combination of watercolor paint, oil pastels, chalk, charcoal, and ballpoint pen, to create hues in unexpected places: patches of blue and purple appear on stomachs; yellows and oranges swirl across knees and up thighs. The painter portrays the many nuances of the female experience with diligence: In some works, the colored shading could arguably depict bruising, which, when combined with the subject’s defeated posture, suggests struggle. Other works show bodies leaping as if elated, or lounging with playful sensuality. “Past [and] present experiences, traveling, and human movement are all influential in my art making”, explains Merrall from her studio in Sweden. “Through my artworks I am exploring the relationship between colour, the human nude form, line, and the integration these components have in creating an aesthetic and emotional experience on myself as well as the viewer”. This vision is best summarized by the quote Merrall chose to open her artist statement with, a line from Concerning the Spiritual in Art by famed painter Wassily Kandinsky: “The superficial impression of varied colour may be the starting point of a whole chain of related sensations”.

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All images © Fipé Gouge Merrall