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  • Writer's pictureElvira m. Dayel

Male Figure

Updated: Mar 15, 2020

Rhythm, unity, contrast, proportion. Every decision is in the linework. Sometimes I want to please the viewer, sometimes to anger them. This series of drawings are a study in visual complexity, which hopefully results in emotional response. When color interlaces w/ form - red, mouse-grey, green-grey, sun & moon light gather to shed light on contrasting fields of figure that is composed - these interplays result in formal complexity. Yet my desire to generate a reductive form is this struggle or game between of what’s too much and how much more to give a simplified elegance. Deconstructing, then bringing the whole composition together. To get closer to the whole, there is a Little ideas in each piece, esp. in the process of making that piece, gets closer to the whole.

When drawing a figure, I am always on the lookout to find and capture that other mysterious moment which makes that person both human and elevates them at the same time. Viewers always ask me, was this drawn from a life pose. My answer is always a strong “yes”, yet I tell my viewers that all my figures are deeply internalized & composed conceptually on paper.

When working with a nude figure, i usually feel compelled to avoid vulgarities and rudeness. I like to see my figures in their created micro-universe, where their physicality is manifested through the flow of line and color contrast & vibrancy.

Every human figure is a search & negotiation. It's a work of shapes & play of form. Female figure construction is familiar to me. I have been practicing its peculiarities & value for a number of years now. Male figure, on the other hand, I haven't done since college. Nuances of the body, its literal outline and my vision of it where figure goes in & out of the sketched trace or there is a decision to curve an element or make it seem smaller or on the contrary, to make it seem larger. These intuitive decisions create a certain rhythm. Almost like a dance. I think, that’s what makes my flatly rendered figures obtain a certain formal depth, & hopefully, a certain human parameter.

“Male figure 4. Mike” is a guy holding his cellphone against his face as he is taking a selfie in a mirror; he and space behind him are illuminated with a white patch of color. his hand is partially illuminated where other colors construct the hand. There is a certain momentary time stamp in this, this piece is dated through the obscured elements of our every-day use gadgets. Is it obvious that that’s what the figure is holding in his hand? I’m not sure but once you know it, it becomes a topic of discussion, it becomes a modern piece.

When I work, when I create, I seem to enter a certain zone of my mind and physical place of creation. Time seems to melt away, as if in a famous Salvador Dali painting, there are objects and especially the watch they melt away. When a drawing is happening, I feel like I'm part of something larger. Part of a universal persistence of time. Every day our lives are a familiar kaleidoscope of events, encounters, situations. Every little idea in the process gets me closer to the whole.

Placing a contour to show an idea of movement, capture a posture. Rhythm of the line-work flow. Small format, lends itself to a compact figure within the boundaries of the paper.

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