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MK Thomson’s figurative oil paintings consider the human body and are inspired by the animalistic and grotesque. Using layers of paint she contorts, distorts, and manipulates flesh and bones to emphasise the physicality of the human form.

 

The historical and cultural significance of the oil painted body plays a predominant role in the influence of her work. The current focus of her practice revolves around examining the oil painted body, both as a symbol of continued tradition and in consideration of the role of gender representation in contemporary art.  Conceptually, Thomson’s artworks are as much about the human body as they are about painting itself. They reject the need for narrative structure, instead prioritising sensation, namely the visceral sensation of the body as it is translated through paint.

 

The figures in her paintings stem from photos and drawings of her own body. However, they are not self-portraits and are an attempt to represent the body separated from the self. The removal of hair and the underworked or obscured facial features reflects a desire to strip the body of its identity. Stripping context from both the identity of the bodies and the circumstances of the paintings creates a tone of ambiguity that defines her work. Ambiguity fosters the metamorphic, the transitional, and the unresolved.

 

Inhabiting each painting is a lone figure that acts as a vessel to embrace the awkward, monstrous feminine; a figure in pursuit of a version of the body that is uninhibited by gender, identity, and notions of idealisation.

In 2023 MK achieved a BA (Hons) First Class degree in Fine Art from the University of Dundee and was awarded the Graham Lang Prize for Excellence in Drawing and Painting.

 

MK Thomson is from the Northwest of Scotland and is currently based in Ullapool.

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