Somaya Critchlow (QuarARTine special episode)

Russell and Robert meet British artist Somaya Critchlow whose figurative paintings of women explore facets of race, sex and culture. Working mostly on a small scale, her works depict bold, curvaceous and self-possessed female characters, of her own creation, that simultaneously combine and subvert the culture expectations of race, gender and power in the history of portraiture. They are self-reflective and personal, and at the same time commentary of the cultural, class and political dynamics of contemporary society.

We discuss the bringing together of pop culture influences including 'Love and Hip Hop', Cardi B, Lil' Kim, Nicki Minaj with artistic influences of Rubens, Renaissance masters and European miniatures. We explore her alienation from the art history she studied growing up and the lack of representation, tying in autobiographical references in her new works, her response to the death and problematic life of rapper XXXTentacion, the paintings of Lisa Yuskavage, Leonora Carrington, Leonor Fini, Lucy Stein, cartoonist Robert Crumb, architect Carlo Mollino and filmmaker David Lynch. We discuss the appeal of 1960s-70s style, kitsch, vintage erotica, life-drawing and the writing of Angela Carter including her feminist reappraisal of the Marquis de Sade’s books. We also chat about the more recent movement to openly discuss body image, sexuality and representation in the mainstream including writer/documentary maker Chidera Eggerue and Instagram community iWeigh.

Somaya’s forthcoming solo exhibition ‘Underneath a Bebop Moon’ will be at Maximillian William, London. Follow @SomayaCritchlow on Instagram or @Maximillian_William.

For all images discussed in today’s episode visit @TalkArt and we are also on Twitter @TalkArtPodcast. Thanks for listening!!!


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