Rebecca Fontaine-Wolf gave AAL students an Artists Talk in one of our studios today. Rebecca is an artist who is now based in London, having studied at her undergrad at the University for the Creative arts and MFA at Wimbledon College of Arts. The main themes of her work are “female identity, mortality and desire,” studying the female body and the taboos that are associated with it.
First of all, she talked to students about how she approaches the canvas. Recalling something one of her BA tutors said to her, “never approach a painting with a fixed idea of what you want it to be like, because that will never happen.” Rebecca told students that she doesn’t weigh herself down with a strict plan for her paintings, which usually allows her to let ideas grow organically. She showed students the progression of ‘Daughters of Medusa,’ which at one stage involved her partially whiting out the first painting, then painting something new over the top. The result was fantastic, with the layers creating a story on the canvas.
The artist then went into more depth on the themes of her work. Once Rebecca had done her MFA, her artistic focus became clear. She realised that because the female perspective was so central to her life, it was the most natural thing for her to explore. Her representations of the female body are expressions of the female experience, in menstruation, physical insecurity, womanhood and so much more. Rebecca said that she “only paints real women,” meaning, she paints women that are real to her, women that she knows. By working mainly from photos, Rebecca is able to immerse herself in painting independently in her studio.
Rebecca is now Vice Principal of the Society of Women Artists, through which she curates exhibitions. It was very interesting to hear about the Artist’s journey, and the way she celebrates her gender through her work.