Limina: A Journal of Historical and Cultural Studies

The Pleasure of Your Company by Francesa Jurate Sasnaitis

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Francesca Jurate Sasnaitis

The University of Western Australia 

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The Pleasure of Your Company


'The Pleasure of Your Company' inhabits the liminal space of dreams, caught between desire and revulsion, lust and dread. The painting addresses the theme of 'Fear and Loathing' in its representation of sexual anxiety in the narrative of a nightmarish wedding. Stylistically, the painting references the sequential moralising art of William Hogarth (1697-1764), the high drama of German Expressionism (1905-1935), and the contemporary cinematic technique of storyboarding. 

The pivotal character is the Girlfriend. Her relationship with the Bride is defined by longing for the Bride's love, fear of losing the Bride, and self-loathing for becoming a hostage to the Bride's desires. From top-left to bottom-right, the panels are titled:

  1. I'm OK with this, the Girlfriend thinks
  2. The curtains part on the Three-Ring Circus
  3. The Bride has gone to so much trouble
  4. The Bridesmaids are grotesque
  5. This is a travesty
  6. The Girlfriend dreams of a lover whose name she can't remember
  7. Speak now or forever hold your peace
  8. The Bride weeps
  9. Don't do it, the Girlfriend begs.
The crimson folds of the curtains, the spotlit flesh-coloured interior, the repeated coil of the Girlfriend's chignon, the pointed fingers, the curled moustaches, the arum lilies, and the strings of lights are unmistakable genital tropes, which signify the Girlfriend's sexual anxiety, her ambiguous status, and her increasing discomfort. 

The grotesqueness of the Bride and his Bridesmaids is a projection of the Girlfriend's self-loathing. The Girlfriend's feigned indifference is embodied in her dream of the nameless lover. Her attempt to stop the wedding represents her fear of abandonment. The weeping Bride and the begging Girlfriend sit in contradiction to each other, and denote the tortuous negotiations surrounding sex, love, and commitment. 


Medium: Oil on canvas

9 panels 

 

Limina: A Journal of Historical and Cultural Studies

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Friday, 12 December, 2014 1:57 PM

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