Back to Born to Shock


“I'm Glad That I Knew Him in the Biblical Sense” is a painting which attempts to unify the concepts of sexuality and spirituality in the image of a seductive male, displayed in a format usually associated with Christian iconography. It is meant to provoke an emotional reaction through the use of lush colors, gold leaf and the shock of the aroused genitalia. The reaction to the image could differ depending on the sex, social-conditioning, sexual preference and religious beliefs of the viewer.

Traditional Christian imagery has kept a distance from -sexuality. Eastern religious iconography accommodates the union of the sexual and spiritual realms. Buddhist tantric paintings are an example of this unification. I'm Glad That I Knew him attempts to glorify a figure within a spiritual association while fully recognizing the sexual possibilities of the figure. It acknowledges spiritual and sexual unification within the realm of a historical perspective of Western and Christian imagery. There is nothing identifying the figure within this painting, or the title, with Jesus Christ definitively.

The positioning of the figure, the colors, the gold leaf and the presentation can create the association. The level of acceptance of that association is left to the viewer. 'Being in love' is generally acknowledged as being a transcendent experience. Sexual fulfillment can culminate the state of love.

This painting anticipates the ecstasy. As I am a heterosexual woman, the act of creating this painting is an affirmation of my preference and pays homage to a virile male image. Just as male painters throughout history painted sensual goddesses, so I am presenting a male image worthy of adoration.

I'm Glad That I Knew Him also addresses the concept of calendar girls. This is a male equivalent, made for the walls of a gallery rather than a garage, with imagery accessible to a lay' person as well as an art educated viewer.

This painting can stimulate art-speak in an attempt to justify the shock of the sexual imagery. Understanding it can be as simple as the sensual pleasure in looking at a 'hunk', a well painted, big, magnificent 'hunk'. And if the context brings to mind high vaulted ceilings and organ music, appreciation can run the gamut of lower to higher chakra levels.

The statement in I'm Glad That I Knew Him in the Biblica1 sense is:
The way you feel looking at it is ALLOWED.

Julie Oakes