Prey by Mark Wallis, 2000, oil on canvas.
Click on the image to see the uncensored version (PG – frontal nudity)
This is a detail from Prey, my second attempt at oil painting. In the full work, the model is stretched out in cruciform, and the photograph I worked from (by Jim French) appealed to my atheist nature. I was fascinated by the religious overtones and dramatic lighting, and the implied restraint of such physicality. There is drama in the male form which is rarely mined.
The piece was exhibited in Amsterdam’s Warmoesstraat, a bohemian stretch of galleries and bars between Centraal Station and The Dam Square.
One of the things which intrigued me about this painting was people’s reactions: people either loved it or hated it with nothing in between. Most people saw a face in the torso, found it striking and evocative or grotesque and offensive. It was good to provoke such extreme reactions. Art should always aspire to be something greater than the sum of it’s parts.