Ilse Pahl is presently exploring how to represent the female figure in her work by looking at her collection of objects that represent the female form in various narratives. The pose, physical features, material and colour of the objects have influenced the works. Ilse has developed a female character that has evolved from being passive and submissive into an aggressive nightmarish or monstrous woman. Her physical features resemble a combination of the objects in her collection which are African fetish figures, curios and ceramic ornaments or images of women represented in various poses over different periods. Often the features are distorted not in proportion and alien-like, because they are bad reproductions.
Ilse often wears make-up that is painterly and heavily applied on her lashes, eyes and lips. The medium of paint for Ilse has similar material qualities to make up and flesh. Sometimes, the fluidity of the paint and the materiality of the paint takes over her paintings and subject resulting in an abstract, undefined form. The feminine colours – pink – are intense in tone and scale magnifying the smears and smudges in paint. Thinking about lipstick and eye shadow, Ilse is interested in how she can use feminine elements to make work that reflects the violent and chaotic world she lives in.