Sylvie Freedman

Touch, 2021

Oil on Canvas, 36” x 60”

The Skinning, 2022

Oil on Canvas Paper, 4- 16” x 20” (Each)

The Hunt, 2021

Oil on Canvas, 48” x 60”

Meal Time, 2022

Oil on Canvas, 34” x 44”

Meal Time, 2022

Oil on Canvas, 34” x 44” (Detail 1)

Meal Time, 2022

Oil on Canvas, 34” x 44” (Detail 2)

Maria, 2022

Oil on Canvas paper, 16” x 20”

Entering, 2022

Oil on Canvas, 36” x 48”

Artist Statement

In my recent work I am oil painting self portraits about my relationship with my body and its image. I am displaying myself, usually in the nude, to represent the sensation of being seen and the idea that my image belongs to others. I am using metaphorical and sometimes surrealistic images to display complex emotions and ideas. Whether that be displaying myself as a recently hunted animal, being grabbed by unseen hands, or my skin melting off my face; I am tapping into the violence I have felt living in my body and projecting these emotions to a viewer. 

The historical medium of oils is an important aspect of what I am trying to say with my work. In every brushstroke there is a reference to those before me who used this medium. I also think oils are uniquely useful for portraying the body, not just because of the long history of nude figure painting but because of the visual of the oil itself. Oil is the medium of flesh, it’s needed to properly display the body. 

I paint myself to grapple with all the questions that connect to my experience of existing in this body. I have often felt as though my image doesn’t belong to me and consequently my body itself doesn’t belong to me. I am taking back and redefining how I show my image when I am painting self portraits. I am putting my discomfort and objectification on display but now on my terms. I paint myself because I know myself and my pain but I also paint myself because there is still so much to learn. I’m using this project and these methods to understand myself and put an image and a face to this discomfort.