Anxiety over the body, over the very material of the flesh, is a primary impetus in my artmaking. The first work that felt truly like my own was when I began painting imagery that pulled energy from my eating disorder. This early body of work consisted of tumor- or gourd-like hunks of flesh, divorced from any human body, often floating or hanging in shadowy spaces. At the time, I was concerned with the manipulation or misdirection of the viewer's perception, applying fleshy, sexualized qualities to semi-abstract creations. In hindsight, however, I see that they dealt heavily with my fears about the potential overgrowth of the flesh.

Relocating to New York in early 2011 renewed my painting practice spurred me into working from models and photographic references. That imagined flesh has become figurative, but the sense of anxiety is palpable as ever. My focus has shifted from the frightening possibilities of the flesh operating within a void to the struggle to live in one's flesh in a modern, urban reality. I am now seizing moments of raw expressiveness and pulling my models' bodies apart. I obsess over faces, limbs, and minute bodily details, multiplying them until they fill the canvas, casting them garish hues, or cropping them to the point of suffocation.


Carly Bodnar is a visual artist working primarily in oil on canvas. Originally from Eugene and Portland, Oregon, she now paints in Brooklyn, New York. Keep in touch on Facebook and Instagram.