Julia Kristeva’s Black Sun (1989) raises the idea that melancholy from loss of love can be transformed creatively by giving visibility where there is a void; that art can be an object replacing the love that was lost.
For Love and light Coppersmith has produced a new series of still life paintings which also function as self-portraits. Collaborative in nature, the project began through the exercise of asking a selection of former lovers to create a model of a reclining nude in remembrance of the artist’s body.
Exploring ideas of memory, loss and desire, the resulting figures served as the subjects for a series of paintings that distort notions of the male gaze. Presented as a reclaimed trove of relationship artefacts and a gestural recollection of the self, the artistic interpretation of the figures serve to assert the artist’s body and reframe the memory of each relationship – a transference of love from the transient exchange to the artwork itself.
Works on paper
The figures depicted are reminiscent of the sketches and sculptures by Henry Moore. The landscape elements the surrounding the figures are largely imaginary – the landscape informed by the view outside the studio window, and the sculptures based on small figurines in the studio. The actual size of the figurines bears a likeness to the small scale in which they are painted and sketched. The figures were made through the process of the artist asking former lovers to make a reclining nude sculpture from memory of the artist’s body. The resulting sculpted forms bear resemblance to modernist sculpture. In these works there is a conflation of primitive and modernist sculpture with an autobiographical element.