Courtney Newson

Varicose, Oil paint on Canvas, 60cm x 60cm, 2021

Image description: Close-up oil painting of varicose veins on the back calves of two legs.

My practice concerns the replication of the human form with paint, focusing intensively on skin. Utilising the physicality of oil paint to access fine details, and to enhance skin qualities, textures and colours disregarded by the naked eye. Tempting the viewer to question the works subject matter, revealing an unnerving tension between natural and unnatural, heightened through the conflict between realism and painterly. This strain is further exacerbated by scale, the proportions of body part to canvas are purposefully inaccurate to disrupt the realism, and reaffirm the sense of invasiveness and discomfort from the audience. The zoomed composition of my work isolates certain areas of the skin to convey slightly ambiguous subject matter, further eliciting an intimacy and vulnerability with the subject, despite drawing from common nuances or textures of the skin such as birthmarks and prominent veins. More recently, my paintings have demonstrated the visual impact of the skin under pressure, combined with the skin’s resilience, pulling from both subtle and more dramatic transformations within the skin’s textures and colours, including varicose veins, eczema, bruising, burst capillaries and ageing.

Instagram: @courtneynewson_art