Skin and Bones

Michelle Shean

Year: 12
School: Churchlands Senior High School
Medium: Oil on Canvas

Artist statement: Many people fear death, above all else. Understandably, as it is in our human nature to fear and avoid the unknown. “What happens after death?” is the biggest, longest question of our existence. However, I fear something else. The fleetingness of youth is a fear that has haunted me for much of this short portion of my life. Through oil paint, I express the fear of losing youthful vitality and becoming reduced to “skin and bones”. A living, breathing body that has lost its ability to express, to create, or to absorb the world.The youthful subject in a graveyard of bones represents youth amongst the remains of its impending end. The thick application of the paint and my use of a varied palette in the creation of my main subject are used to emphasise the vibrancy and joyous nature of adolescence. While the dark background and the fish skeletons allude to a more sinister emotion tied to aging and losing youthfulness and vitality. The contempt, bored expression on my subject’s face, as opposed to the naïve, blissfully ignorant perception of youthful beings reflects my own attitude to the idea of my fading existence. I am frightened but accepting and optimistic but not ignorant to the uncertain but inevitable future.

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