The connection between nakedness and the erotic is a tricky subject in an age when public nudity per se is considered taboo. Is the unadorned naked human body truly erotic, or is it just who we are in our natural state? This is the indeterminate borderland depicted in such powerful detail in Susannah Martin’s paintings, encouraging us to think carefully about how we relate to our own skin and to the raw nakedness of the natural world. In her paintings there is connection and joy, exploration and company – all totally naked.

When asked by Jonathan Levine to talk about how she produces her paintings, Martin explained: ‘There are several phases in the process. First, I have a rough idea of what I want to communicate. This sometimes comes along with a very clear image in my mind which I then have to apply to a real life model and environment. Once I’ve found models willing to work with me, a good deal of thought and preparation goes into my photoshoot with them. I’ll give  them rough instructions of what I’m looking for, but then I let them take my idea and play with it. I take thousands of photos in every photoshoot, and pore over them for years to come. Essentially I’m inspiring my models to interact with their environment in very individual and personal ways, and they in turn inspire me to paint about their experiences. Then begins the slow process of building a composition. Once I have my composition worked out in the form of a collage, I begin to draw it onto the primed canvas. After securing my drawing with acrylic line I begin the process of oil painting. Usually I mask off the figures and work the background up to a point where I feel that It is done except for minor adjustments, then I begin to paint the figures, jumping back to the landscape while layers of paint dry on the figures. It goes on for many layers and many weeks before I reach the level that I’m satisfied with.’