Fionn Wilson

On "Blonde 2" by painter Fionn Wilson

The American abstract expressionist Willem de Kooning once said that ”Flesh was the reason oil paint was invented.” As a painter, at times it's hard not to think the opposite to be true as well, that flesh was invented to be painted, especially the human flesh and the naked body. The female nude with its delicious curves and voluptuousness is particularly appealing. There is a connection, certainly a poetical and an erotic one, between the way a woman fills her skin and the way paint fills a canvas – and let there be no doubt about it, painting is a sensual process.

Like undressing and being nude usually is, painting is something very intimate that takes place within a confined, personal space. It is a trademark of Fionn Wilson's painting in general that she never betrays this feeling of intimacy. She doesn't put things on display, and rather than trying to accommodate or please the viewer's voyeuristic desires, she invites him or her to dwell upon the delicacy, the tenderness and – quite often, also – the powerfulness of the intimate.

Her painting ”Blonde 2”, which was judge Jan Woolf's favourite in the 2013 The International Women's Erotic Art Competition, is a perfect example of this. It is an extremely sexual and very up front painting, almost obscenely so – but it isn't. Instead, Fionn Wilson has turned the painting into a powerful and refined meditation on female lust, not as something objectified , dissected or studied, but – and I will deliberately put it like this – like a curving of the private, intimate space.

For, it seems to me, Fionn Wilson's nudes are not just paintings of curved, naked bodies. They are also, importantly, paintings of curved spaces – or perhaps more accurately: the spaces that the paintings make and invite the viewers into, are curved ones. Looking at a Wilson painting you find yourself drawn into a kind of circle, emotionally gravitating towards the centre. This is far from always true with paintings. Many expressionist artists' works seem eager to (in a manner of speaking) sort of reach out into public space and be everywhere at once, and it is only through their reaching – when successfully done – that they gain some kind of gravitational force themselves. A Fionn Wilson painting is something quite different. It has a strong, emotional core that allows it to generate a space of its own, not apart from the public one, but as intimacy. Right there.

With ”Blonde 2” (as with the rest of her nudes) Fionn Wilson has achieved something which hardly any contemporary painters even bother to attempt: to give us a strong and convincing impression of female sexuality. Not a prettified one, not an obscene one, and not as an illustration of some more or less clever gender political point. But for real. Full of respect for the person painted and with amazing talent. It is a brilliant painting.

Bo Gorzelak Pedersen,
Art critic for the Danish art paper Kunstavisen