Jennifer Smith

"The female nude is central to my work. My main objective is to challenge how we look at the female body in contemporary society. The normal conventions of beauty of the female body do not drive my work. I am often trying to respond to a narrative influenced by social media, gender roles and representations of the female body and perceptions of female beauty."

"All my work is semi-autobiographical. In this stage of my life it came natural to me to paint the pregnant nude and explore themes of motherhood. I have two young daughters. This exploration has lead to a series of paintings titled: 'The self-portrait' series. This series has been the most challenging of my career. We live in a world where women are looked at and appreciated in terms of their body and beauty. It is not commonplace to use the pregnant female form in artworks. Images of the female nude during pregnancy and of motherhood in general in painting are under represented, or adhere to classical Madonna and child themes which are far from reality."

"During my first pregnancy I had a gallerist congratulate me on not letting my pregnancy affect the work I was producing. During this time I deliberately did not approach the topic of pregnancy in my work for fear of being seen as overly 'feminine' and painting female topics. With my second pregnancy a shift came in my thinking. I was utterly disappointed in myself for letting the potential opinion of the audience have any influence on the work I was making.

Currently I am continuing to produce works on the process of labor and motherhood. My

paintings challenge the viewer to interact and respond to how women are individually reclaiming the representation , power and strength of their own bodies."

You can follow @jennifer_smith_art to see more of her work.

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