Three.

Posted on: April 24th, 2013 by Jane Maxwell No Comments

Three. It’s a number that consistently arises in my life. In my studio, I work on three canvas’ at a time. Three silhouettes are often featured in my work. I tend to cluster collections of 3 items around my home. I even have 3 kids (and I’m 1 of 3). It’s not intentional – I just gravitate to 3. I feel comfortable in it’s asymmetry. I’m intrigued by both it’s inclusiveness (3 like things) and it’s exclusivity (think tension of “three’s a crowd”). It’s comfortably odd. And manageable in size. I guess if there were such a thing as a creative number – 3 would be mine. So, I begin here to explore things that inspire and intrigue me – in groups of 3.

I start with one of my favorite all time books on the subject of food and body image, Appetites: Why Women Want by Caroline Knapp. So sadly Knapp passed away from lung cancer in 2002. This book was published poshumously in 2003, but is, to this day, my favorite of the genre. Here are three quotes dogeared in my book.

q “This, of course, is one of appetite’s insidious golden rules: The more you meddle with hunger, the more taboo and confusing it will become. Feed the body too little and then too much, feed it erratically, launch that maddening cycle of deprivation and overcompensation, and the sensation of physical hunger itself becomes divorced from the body, food loaded with alternative meanings: symbol of longing, symbol of constraint, form of torture, form of reward, source of anxiety, source of succor, measure of self-worth. And thus the simple experience of hunger–of wanting something to eat–becomes frightening and fraught.”

w “So it persists, for many of us, hunger channeled into some internal circuitry of longing, routed this way and that, emerging in a thousand different forms. The diet form, the romance form, the addiction form, the overriding hunger for this purchase or that job, this relationship or that one. Hunger may be insatiable by nature, it may be fathomless, but our will to fill it, our often blind tenacity in the face of it, can be extraordinary.”

e “One of the lingering cultural myths about gender is that women are bad at math. I’d challenge the myth on these grounds: Women are actually superb at math; they just happen to engage in their own variety of it, an intricate personal math in which desires are split off from one another, weighed, balanced, traded, assessed. These are the mathematics of desire, a system of self-limitation and monitoring based on the fundamental premise that appetites are at best risky, at worst impermissible, that indulgence must be bought and paid for. Hence the rules and caveats: Before you open the lunch menu or order that cheeseburger or consider eating the cake with the frosting intact, haul out the psychic calculator and start tinkering with the budget.”

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