Eeeek! What an incredible experience to interview a true icon and one of my all time favourites: Prudence Flint
Her oil on linen work is recognisable from the stark, distraction-less domestic spaces, closely cropped and sometimes cold. Flint’s compositions draw our eye to focus on the characteristic figures embodying these spaces on her stage. The works allow us to imagine, to project and to question these figures.
They are grounded in the sherbet, flat, geometric candy colours that don’t detract from our focus, instead allowing us to see these women in the fictional landscapes they sit. They charge the pieces, reflecting the fleshy skin.
To me, the accents in the barren rooms - a bottle, a guitar, a dressing doll - are hints from Flint, a breadcrumb to decipher the life of these women we are watching from the corner of the room.
[Image of Flint from Juxtapose Magazine]
PRUDENCE, LET'S BEGIN AT THE VERY BEGINNING (*humming Sound of Music!) What is your earliest memory surrounding artwork? Do you remember the first piece you created?
I painted The New Room in the second year of art school. It was a small work on board of a woman lying on a bed with a staircase and a lamp. It felt revealing and intimate. I think I have been repeating that painting ever since.
revealing and intimate are still huge features in your work. the Female characters play such a huge role in your work. Could you tell me about the symbolism behind you depict women in an often-secluded environment?
I am interested in this feminine place and how it is represented in culture. I have grown up hyper-aware of this, surrounded by brothers. It’s my gift and my curse. I have periods in my life where I have been completely floored and overwhelmed by the feminine place and its complex relation to patriarchal culture.
At the same time, I love to look at paintings for pure sensory experience. I enjoy paintings primarily for their home-made intimacy. I see abstract modernist painting as male privileged, the one voice, but I also feel connected to this lineage.
"Bathrooms are intimate like bedrooms. It isn’t a social public space. When a figure is in a bedroom or bathroom they are not performing for a viewer."
The figures are often in domestic rooms, for example the bathroom. I know that the bathroom has a lot of meaning to you. Could you explain a bit more about this please?
Bathrooms are intimate like bedrooms. It isn’t a social public space. When a figure is in a bedroom or bathroom they are not performing for a viewer. If there is a viewer it’s problematic/voyeuristic/guilty/perverse? I want to capture this underworld, where we spend our time inside our own thoughts, unaware of being seen?
I have noticed that a lot of the women have an almost concentrated, yet absent stare on their face. What are these women thinking and feeling? Also, could you explain a bit about how you play with the bodily proportions of these figures?
Female bodies have a lineage in paintings through history. We are used seeing the ever-changing female body through the decades. The sensation of being unsure of your size. Swollenness is female. It is powerful. We recognise it. The body swells up with life. It’s devastating and brings up feelings of disgust. It’s on the fringes of beauty and ugliness.
Do you have any upcoming shows that we should know about?
I am in the middle of a body of work for mother’s tankstation* London. We are aiming for next year sometime and I’m hoping I can travel to Europe but I’m not sure when.
*mother’s tankstation (all lowercase)
Who are your favourite female artists that you are watching right now Prudence?