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Monthly Archives: July 2011

Thinking about women’s bodies

and our different depictions in art. To think that powerful forces, past and present, dictate how we image ourselves is both enlightening and frightening. In this new painting, I am contrasting the powerful figure from a photograph by Leni Riefenstahl with images of women who must cover themselves. Propaganda art is a potent dictator of fashion, but so too is religion. Here I am working on two divergent representations, perhaps about to come into conflict.

oil on canvas, 30 x 40 inches, unfinished
graphite, 14 x 18 inches

Ethel Waters

I was struck by something I read in Donald Bogle’s biography of Ethel Waters, Heat Wave, and knew immediately that I wanted to create an image based on it. Ethel Waters loved to ride horses in Central Park in the early part of the 20th century. It seemed that a group of white people didn’t care for blacks riding horses in Central Park and tried to get up a petition to stop them. That burned me up, so I wanted to see Ms. Waters on her horse, depicted with the grace usually found in Renaissance portraits of nobility. This is a detail of the painting I am working on:

oil on canvas, 30 x 40 inches