A Type of Womanhood

The motivation for this painting sparked in 1997, when I went to see an exhibition of the work of the Norwegian artist, Odd Nerdrum, at the renovated Frye Art Museum in Seattle. His work, in a painterly “Old Masters” style and technique was very compelling but also extremely disturbing, with titles like Woman Killing an Injured Man. There was a piece called Isola, less dark in its content, and it was of a woman standing full length, facing the viewer, and a draped, wrapped garment, set in an undefined space against a black background. I took it as an image of a Type of Womanhood, in a timeless setting. Though the figure was smiling and unthreatening I was struck but what to me was an essential lack of grace. The word “clunky” came to mind. A link to the Nerdrum painting is here. http://www.nerdrum.com/works/index.php?id=6

I came away wanting to somehow counter it, to offer a Type of Womanhood that did have grace, yet was also timeless. The result was the only oil portrait of my late wife, entitled Janice With an Amphora.


One comment on “A Type of Womanhood

  1. Drogher says:

    Janice with an Amphora appears content, somewhat wistful, anchored – yet a part of her, full of longing – looking for what may yet be revealed. Her eyes gaze, not at you (who are enticed, albeit surreptitiously, to gaze/investigate her inner longings), but into the distance.

    The unexplored corridors – starting with light and ending in blackness serve as an erie metaphor for her being somehow locked in to something for which she seeks freedom. Whether she is fixed in this place or not, she does not appear to be saddened by it.

    The way her clothes drape, effortlessly, indicate that she is not constrained, and that she has found peace… yet she clutches something – a vessel that one might view as serving the expression for minute places of emptiness for which she seeks fulfillment/realization. She is not vacuous, but I have this lingering sense that she is not yet complete… perhaps it is a life that is abbreviated – not fully actualized.

    I’m uncertain, what you the artist are trying to convey, so these are simply my impressions, but one one presumes, not just for your own release of revelation and pleasure, that your audience, might also, draw from their well and ruminate within a sphere of their own satisfactory indulgences and come to their own conclusions.

    Impressive piece of art!

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