Arlene Texta Queen/ A Strong Australian Artist Reclaiming the Female Nude

“Something about the nude figure brings out the philosopher in me. Sometimes I’ll add text as I’m drawing the figure at open studio… I find myself writing thoughts from a different perspective that never would have occurred to me alone at home.”

Theresa Bayer

Arlene Texta Queen is now known as Texta Queen and is an amazing artist from Perth.

She is 49 years old despite her youthful appearance and last I heard travels back and forth between New York and Australia.

I met Arlene decades ago and saw one of her first shows her iconic texta nudes in simple frames. It was a long time ago but they were nude portraits of her hip female friends.

Arlene is of Indian heritage but I don’t think she delved deeply into this heritage until later in her career.

“TextaQueen exhibited TextaNudes, undressed portraits of women, queer, and trans performers, to positive reviews at Sullivan and Strumpf Fine Art in Sydney in March 2011” Wiki

Its amazing how Arlene has reclaimed the female nude which was for centuries the domain of the male artists such as Picasso, Renoir and Modigliani. However, Arlene has turned the gaze around so it’s now the female gazing on the female body which part of feminist philosophy that came out of the late sixties and early seventies with the Australian writer Germaine Greers book the Female Eunuch and Australian artists Bonita Ely and Joan Grounds who both taught me at the Sydney art school COFA in the early nineties.

“You’re only young once, but you can be immature forever.” Germaine Greer

I love how Arlene uses colour and text in her drawings. The way she uses text captures the personality of the sitter and their eccentricities.

Arlene reinvented herself as a sort of comic book superhero with an amazing costume and her name to was changed to Arlene Texta Queen. The materials themselves subvert the fact that textas are not usually used in the domain of art.

Arlene in her superhero costume

The turning point in Arlene’s career came when she was selected for the 2002 Primavera show at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Sydney that show cases emerging Australian artists. On opening night, she did a performance piece.

2002 Primavera at the MCA

This is a great little YouTube video about Arlene’s art process.

In conclusion Arlene is a fantastic Australian artist lesser known internationally but I recommend international collectors to buy her amazing drawings.