Realistic self-portraits reveal secret binge eating

By Naomi Greenaway

The art of bingeing: The images are all set in private places - including the bathroom - as in the image above. Photo / Lee Price
The art of bingeing: The images are all set in private places - including the bathroom - as in the image above. Photo / Lee Price

An American artist has exposed her most private moments in a series of self-portraits that portray her eating behind closed doors.

The thought-provoking images, painted with almost photographic realism, depict the artist in different secret bingeing scenarios.

In one she's surrounded by cupcakes on the sofa, another shows her lying on a bed covered in fast food wrappers and in others she's eating in the bath and even in the loo.

Lee Price from Santa Fe in New Mexico, USA, who painted these compelling pieces "grappled with eating disorders" growing up and wanted to explore the complex relationship some women have with food through her art.

"When I'm having difficulties in my life food is still how I deal with things," admits the artist, now 47. "It's not the severity that it was, but I might grab a pint of Haagen Dazs without thinking."

"The paintings are very personal," Lee tells MailOnline. "They explore compulsive behavior. I use food as the focus, but any number of other things could stand in for food."

"They're about the multifarious ways we check out. We use food to seek solace, but then our search for comfort turns into a way of not being present in the moment," she explains.

The artist believes that women's relationship with food is central to the relationship we have to the world.

"By portraying women involved in as intimate an act as eating, I am exploring a broader context of women's situation," she explains.

"My paintings, I hope, point the viewer toward asking what we are truly hungry for, and what might be a healthier way of expressing that hunger, and seeking out its satiation," she says.

Although the images are about secrecy and compulsion, the artist doesn't associate her paintings with shame. "In fact, there's a kind of defiance in the gaze in many of the paintings," she says.

"I get various interpretations," says the artist. "Many people miss the connection to emotional eating my paintings represent.

"Then I get tonnes of emails from people - men and women both - who respond on a very personal level to the content of my work. Both responses resonate for me."

"What's important to me is not so much how people take them in, but simply that they take them in, each in their own way," she says.

What also stands out in the images are the unusual settings - the bathroom, toilet and bedroom aren't your typical eating spots.

"I wanted to use a private place, a peaceful place of solitude, and set against it this frenetic activity of compulsive behavior in which the subjects are engaged," explains Lee.

"The irony then becomes that in the midst of the chaos of their behavior there is peace. The women just can't see that," adds the artist.

The mesmerising images are currently being exhibited at Evoke Contemporary Gallery in Santa Fe, New Mexico.

- DailyMail

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