Nightshift No. 6 (2002)
About this artwork
This painting is one of a series of seven watercolours entitled ‘Nightshift,’ in which the artist explores a private world that contrasts with the typical male persona. The title suggests the shift of character and appearance that takes place at night. The works show men dressed as women, influenced by Peter Ackroyd’s book on transvestism and dressing up, and by British comedians of the 1960s and 1970s, who dressed as women as part of their acts. The men depicted in these works are not drawn from life but are characters. Holding a small bag, this awkward-looking man appears simultaneously comic and unsettling. In these paintings, Flannigan suggests that there is artifice involved in all types of beauty.
Moyna Flannigan is best known for her fictional portraits based on wry and penetrating observations of middle-class society. Born in Kirkcaldy, Flannigan studied at Edinburgh College of Art and Yale University School of Art, New Haven, Connecticut. After a period of painting in an abstract style she returned to figurative painting around 1995. Flannigan’s paintings depict types and characters influenced by middle-class culture and art history, and are often characterised by dry humour and sense of unease. She paints slowly, without using preparatory drawings or models but by working out her ideas directly onto the canvas. Coloured light is integral to what she depicts, and her paintings have a luminous quality. Recent exhibitions include: The Body Stretches to the Edge, Galerie Akinci, Amsterdam (2013); Moyna Flannigan: New Work – What you see is where you’re at, Part 3, Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art, Edinburgh (2010) and Trouble Loves Me, Sara Meltzer Gallery, New York (2008). She currently lives and works in the Edinburgh area.