Lauren Buchness currently lives and works in Tucson, Arizona. She graduated from the University of Arizona with her MFA in 2018 with a focus in painting. Her work focuses on the body politics surrounding fatness. She works in both painting and video, but watercolor and gouache are currently her primary mediums.
Moss and Magnolias
As a fat person moving through the world, I often hear that it is “unnatural” to be fat. That I should lose weight until my body fits what society considers natural. But how can that be natural if I have to weigh, measure, and monitor every aspect of my body? My fat body is natural and, like nature, it will not be controlled.
Nature is wild and unrestrained, but it is also sublimely beautiful. This series of paintings combines nature with the fat figure highlighting the beauty of fatness, in soft rolls and dimpled skin. Watercolor and gouache are the primary mediums used in this series creating a push and pull of transparent and opaque colors.
Each painting features a model and elements of nature they feel a connection to emotionally or physically. The figures lack identifiable features because often fat is the primary identifier that people rarely want to acknowledge. By distilling the body down to hands and flesh, the viewer is forced to confront the figure’s fatness and question their own internalized fatphobia.
Fat positivity and body liberation work to dismantle fatphobia, and combat the attempts to control fat bodies. Combining the figure with nature disrupts the idea that fatness needs to be restricted and altered. Rather, it fosters the notion that fat bodies deserve to exist and take up space without shrinking to fit society’s version of an acceptable body.