April 10th, 2006
Fresh Girls: The Art of Carolyn Weltmanby D. Clark MacPherson
One day, drifting down Prince Street towards West Broadway, trying to pick a way in and out among the myriad stalls of vendors selling handbags, jewelry and leather my eye caught an erotic drawing of a young woman lying naked with her legs apart. The cappuccino suddenly seemed less attractive and I was drawn to some of the other pieces; women together, a man and a woman, and one whose gender was not completely clear.
The drawings, in charcoal, oils and what seemed to be vibrant colored chalk or crayon, are erotic and explicit in their portrayal of sexuality. But, drawings are not photographs. They are approximations of the person who is posing and we cannot look into the models mind. To some extent, that is the point. The nudity and Weltman’s erotic poses accentuate the model’s bodies. Many of Weltman’s subjects are faceless, causing the viewer to only focus on the nakedness and sexualized beauty of her subjects. So, while the voyeur in us hesitates to stare at these purely sexual beings, the lovely bodies that hold our gaze do not warn us away. It’s sex without guilt, through art.
Weltman’s work has appeared in many national and international magazines and she has won a number of awards, including Erotic Artist of the Year Award for 2002-2003 held at the Erotic Awards in London, England. She has shown her work and won praise (and awards) at Leslie-Lohman Gallery in SoHo and Art@Large. Her pieces have also been on view at the Museum of Sex. Her work is prominently displayed on her website at www.artforengineers.com and can easily be ordered online. You are encouraged to visit.
While some may take issue with the direct confrontational quality of her nudes-especially, when they are explicitly draped for the viewer to experience–she has a very opinionated position on her art. She makes no bones about the fact that artistic expression supersedes any adolescent fear of sexuality. Of the idea that her work is in any way inappropriate or exploitive of her models, she responds, “Bourgeois accusations that I, or the people I portray, have sexist or denigrating motives I find not merely small-minded and picayune, but revealing of a fascistic belief in the regulation of emotion–and a fear of the messiness of nature and biology.”
Carolyn Weltman has a clear and penetrating view of sexuality through art. For the more adventurous, her work must be experienced. Look and enjoy.*