Pick Your Pleasure by Jaelah

28 × 40″
guache, pencil, acrylic, and house paint on stretched canvas

Queer Fruit is the current body of work I’m creating that explores queer identity, queer bodies, and sexual power dynamics.

The series began when I pulled out 3 old canvases that had been stored underneath my bed, forgotten still life paintings of vases, boxes, fruits, and draped fabrics that I had tediously yet unenthusiastically completed for my college coursework. I needed new blank canvases to work on so figured the time had come to let go of the past, prime the canvases white, and recycle the old to inhabit the new. While I was whiting out the canvases, though, there were a few select fruits that were so beautiful and intriguing I couldn’t bare to white them out. So I whited out everything except these splendid fruits. I was left with 3 white canvases, 2 of them with a single apple floating in space, and the third with an apple and a pear hovering close. I let them sit in my studio for days where I could stare at them and finally one day I picked up a pencil and drew a single nude human figure interacting with the fruit in each image.

Now that I’m expanding the series I have used models to explore positions with fruit and to use as an anatomical reference, but do not treat the model as a portrait subject and am letting the faces of the figures in my paintings morph into someone else.

​Originally from Wisconsin, Jaelah Kuehmichel has been working and creating in Austin, Texas since her return from Peace Corps service in Burkina Faso, West Africa in 2010. Her mixed media artwork celebrates play, whimsy, adventure, and beauty. Her work explores themes of identity, independence, sexuality, consumption, and risk. Working in the realm of design allows her to utilize her personal aesthetic and fine attention to detail to fulfill the functional and practical needs of her clients.

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