The New York based artist Lee Price paints women in intimate settings, often in the bathtub or in bed, surrounded by food like decadent desserts or junk food. The oil paintings are realistically painted with an extraordinary sense of details. Even though almost all of the paintings are self-portraits of Lee Price in private and personal settings, the thematic is universal and recognizable. The focus is on women and their complex relationship with food and body, enjoyment, liberation, obsession and addiction. In the paintings the food becomes a symbol for the distractions we create to avoid being present in our own lives. An escape from reality, expectations and strictures we all, especially women, can recognize.
From the artist’s statement:
Since I started painting I have been focused on the often fraught relationship between women and food. I explore food’s role as liberator, crutch, drug and nourishment. My paintings ask: What is it that truly nourishes us, and how honest can we be about the size of our hunger?
I use food as a metaphor for the ways we distract ourselves from being present. Much of my work looks at compulsivity. The frenetic activity of the figures in my pieces contrasts with the placidness of their surroundings. The aerial view evokes the feeling of an out of body experience: the subject is watching herself engage in compulsive behavior but is unable to stop. There is an absurdity to the repetition of this act of compulsion. At the same time it is an attempt to find real nourishment.
Sometimes my paintings explore food as a means of rebellion. In these works, the figure stares out at her audience, defying their judgment. She revels in the absence of any censorship of her appetite and delights in the abundance that surrounds her. The women in my paintings are seeking a place of solace. They are looking for a reacquaintance with joy. They are searching for the lusciousness of life.
Strawberry Shortcake II, Oil on Linen 30″ x 60″
Strawberry Shortcake III, Oil on Linen 32″ x 67″
Strawberry Shortcake, Oil on Linen 30″ x 60″
Full, Oil on Linen 44″ x 54″
See more images on leepricestudio.com
All images are published in agreement with the artist.