RAE, Jude;

Manifold

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1994
Oil on canvas
1815 x 1215mm

Deborah Lawler-Dormer notes that Jude Rae ‘has described her paintings of cloth as evoking the various memories of the hem of her mother’s skirt, the sheets of her parents’ bed, veils, dust sheets, funerary shrouds, curtains, bandages, fragments of the Virgin’s robes, the canvas, screens’. She paints from within an academic tradition, in which, for centuries, mastering the depiction of drapery was a sign of virtuosity and a symbol of civilised life.

Rae reworks this approach in the context of French feminist theory of the 20th century, which was concerned with the representation of women through visual forms and language. In her paintings, drapery carries a seductive quality. It both alludes to and obscures a body, particularly a female body. As Julia Kristeva claims, a woman is ‘something that cannot be represented, something that is not said, something above and beyond nomenclatures and ideologies’.

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