Pornucopia is the name of a painting by Alan Dedman. It asserts the moral right of any artist to make work based on erotic or pornographic source material, regardless of gender.
The artwork was started in December 2021 and went through a number of stages before it reached it’s present state. In 1986 Dedman made a drawing titled ‘The Gymnast’ developed from a children’s colouring book he bought from a newsagent in South London. ‘The Gymnast’ defies ‘colouring up to the line’ as taught at primary school. This canon of behaviour requires conformity. Neatness is always necessary.
Children hold their tongues against tightly pursed lips while they strain to control a stick of pigment at teacher’s behest – knowing they will lose marks if they cannot herd coloured mud into a linear mould.
The subjugation of natural emotion (colour) to the authority of line (literal meaning) can destroy freedom of expression yet ‘provides evidence of psychomotor skills’ – which may or may not be relevant in later life. Various artists entertain this visual fetish in their work, Fernand Leger, Raoul Dufy, Patrick Caulfield and latterly – Michael Craig-Martin, to name a few. I think it was Ingres who once said to Degas: ‘Draw lines dear boy, draw lines’.
A similar thing applies to expectations about Art foisted upon us by ‘the arbiters of taste‘, media lackeys, glitterati and moguls who take it upon themselves to censor what is and isn’t acceptable – according to them. If we are looking at pictures, the human form nude or not, is always a point of engagement and interest.
In Pornucopia I have denied the fetish of ‘colouring up to the line’ in a post-Primary School tantrum of civil disobedience. The painting is also a declaration of my own interest in the erotic potential of human form, something which began in earnest when I worked for a Sicilian boss at a strip-joint in Soho. I have included some prurient references to male genitalia – a jizzing cock and battered bell-end.
The work was created using photo-reference. I made a cartoon drawing on paper using a bamboo cane to hold charcoal at a distance from me, reducing competence – which in turn, generates focus. Once I formed the cartoon, I perforated lines using a pattern cutter’s spur – then pounced charcoal through the drawing, onto the canvas. An ancient technique of transferring drawings onto painting grounds.
For the initial attack, I didn’t change the composition much; when I returned I was more vigorous, enjoying the snarling sensuality of colour. I think the outcome is lively, colourful and celebrates heterosexual male volitions. The rebellion is as much about this, as against formal painting procedure. I like being with Pornucopia, it’s one of those artworks which you can’t ignore. I love the rich sensual colour and the way it rejoices in fornication and things carnal.
‘Pornucopia’ is a large scale painting, 7ft x 4ft mixed media on canvas stretched over mdf. Price: £15,000.00 gbp
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