Andrea Blanch: So tell me, how did you get to Bushes? Why bushes, of all subjects?

Mona Kuhn: Well, because I was turning 50 years old around this time, I have done a lot of figurative work and nudes, and I have worked with nudes as a way of expressing emotions over a long period of time. I was getting this more and more, being questioned about if I'm a feminist or not. I’ve never felt very strong in answering yes or no. I always consider myself more of a humanist. I am a woman, so in my own personal definition, of course I'm a feminist, but there's a lot of ins and outs of the actual movement of feminism that is very complex for me. Anyway, I felt that it would be really interesting for me to do something to contribute to this long conversation about feminism and all of the turbulence that it comes with. So I decided that my position is just to make a contribution, and in doing so, I started thinking, how could I possibly contribute? I went back in time to the painting L'Origine du monde, by Gustave Courbet. I felt back then that that was my point of entrance on this conversation, as a reaction to Courbet. I never quite liked the way that he painted so graphically the vagina, on oil paint with highlights and everything. I felt that it was very open, and I felt that it was very, in a way, gratuitous. I don't know exactly his statement of the time, but by watching it at my age at this moment in time, it instead of that felt a bit invasive. In any case, I went back and decided that I wanted to do a series related to our origin. So a segment of our body related to the origin, which is a cross-section of our body, below the breast for a woman, and above the knee. And I wanted them to be all standing. I didn't want to have any open legs. I wanted them to look like totems, to look strong, to look like warriors, to look like a strong presence. I wanted the idea that, because the bush is there, it's blocking the genitals, or it's blocking the vulva and the vagina. So it's never as gratuitous as Courbet ever was. And I also felt that I wanted to honor, in that sense, the artist women that came before me, that paved the way for me to do what I do nowadays, with a lot more easiness than they had in the past. I also wanted to inspire women in the future, hopefully.

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