THE BATH AND THE SUIT is a visual arts project by Jane Stradwick featuring illustrated photographs of local men, women and children. The monochromatic pieces explore issues of self-expression. The Bath and the Suit is an art series that involves a suit and a bath, although more accurately, it involves portraits of 15 individuals, many baths and one suit.
The project was born from a desire to artistically capture the essence of light on water, however, as it developed, questions based on identity and self expression became just as significant. The first of three phases of the project involved photographing the individuals who are featured in the portraits. They were asked, sometimes in pairs, to wear the same suit, any way they preferred, and to submerse themselves in a bathtub. The suit was chosen for its light reflecting properties and the bathtub was selected as the ideal setting as to capture the reflecting and refracting light and maintain a visual uniformity throughout the series. The setting was then lit and photographed.
Water movement was introduced during the photoshoot and the way the light filtered through and hit the surface of the water, and the many unique shapes it made, aesthetically ties a lot of the series together. The group of people who are involved in this project have various personal styles, backgrounds and relationships such as lovers, friends and siblings and individuals including a four year old boy and Miss Burlesque Australia 2011.
One of the questions that arose during phase one was ‘how was the individual going to be able to express themselves in the same setting and dress?’. A major source of interest was what each person would bring to the table and what could be captured of their personality- visually- within these constraints. The second phase of the project was the illustration stage. Large scale illustrations were produced in a monochromatic palette using Prismacolor (wax-based) pencil on high quality artist’s paper. The final pieces vary in size between 30x40cm to just over a metre in length and 80cm wide. The series took 14 months between conception and completion.
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