Ivan Alifan, Russian born, New York City-based artist is pushing the boundaries of lust and desire with his intimate paintings. Normalizing sexual desires is the subtext behind Alifan’s works. Using beautifully done portraits and close-ups of subjects Ivan is able to create a work of art one can hang in a home without it being too sexually provocative for your family to see when visiting. In the following statement about his 2014 series ‘It’s not Milk’ Alifan explains this subtext his use of it to push the viewer’s comfort zone.
“This series is an exploration of the modern gaze; of ambiguous figurative paintings that are revealed and transformed within the act of the individuals’ views. These portraits are not an attempt to render physical characteristics but rather create a language of underlying sexual subtexts. Using ambiguity as a tool demands the viewer’s exploration of their psyches and provokes self-awareness. To have a painting that can exist as an alluring object and shift into an eroticized figure disarms and naturalizes the modern gaze; decriminalizing sex in art. Whether an individual sexualizes the figure or becomes embarrassed and nervous by the mere suggestion, this is all a process that occurs independently from the painting. Breaking down barriers of the different modes in which the body can exist in social spheres and contemporary art.” – Ivan Alifan (Via his website.)
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