The British artist Sadie Lee (1967), famous for her feminist-themed paintings, was born and raised in Yorkshire, England. She followed her education at the Epsom School of Art and later studied mural painting and marbling at the Hackney Institute. At 21, she moved to London.
Lee’s debut was also her breakthrough. A friend entered the first painting she produced (‘Erect (c) the artist‘ – 1992) without her knowing it to the BP Travel Award in 1992. The organizers were impressed and used the painting for their publicity posters that were on display at every London Underground station. The print became an instant hit and, although this was her first and only painting until then, she was offered a solo show at the Manchester Art Gallery right away.
Picket Fence Voyeurism
On her site Sadie Lee mentions the following influences: 1920’s Classicism, 1970’s lounge kitsch culture, 1960’s drug induced psychosis, 1950’s American picket fence voyeurism, film director David Lynch, French fashion designer Coco Chanel, and the music group The Osmonds.
Recently my attention was drawn to the artist’s provocative paintings that were part of a duo exhibition called ‘Obscene and Pornographic Art ‘ (2016), that displayed her and Matthew Stradling’s work.
This series of realistic and graphic traditional oil paintings “rebel” against the allegorical Rococo art of the 18th century French artist François Boucher (1703-1770). Lee is known for her graphic oil paintings of real people, but for this series she used vintage porn pics as ‘models’ and mixed it with Boucher’s Rococo pieces (see Fig.7), adding a contemporary twist to the compositions.
The stylized celestial nudes of Boucher’s paintings have been replaced with painted images of porn actresses from 1970’s pornography. In an interview she explained ‘People think when you’re subverting an image like that you’re in some way criticizing it, but I grew up loving these images.’ So these paintings are not a critique but a homage. She tries to bring them up to date and have François Boucher for the digital age.
Website of Sadie Lee
Photo sources Fig.2, 3, 4 and 5 – Articlegallery.co.uk
Do you think these paintings by Sadie Lee respect Boucher’s art?
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