This provocative new series represents not only my first foray into encaustic, but also photography. These brazen women you see modeling are part of the sassy collective of vaudevillian burlesque performers in the local dance troupe Terpsichore’s Daughters — Terpsichore (pronounced Terp-sick-a-ree) is the Muse of dance and drama; By the river-god, Achelous, she bore the Sirens. Instantly enamored by this band of limber tattooed women (many of whom I know as fellow mothers), their cheeky playfulness, vintage style, poise, saucy sensuality, and innovative ideas made quick work of my artistic vision. The next step of adding melted bee’s wax, pigment and carving down into lower layers only enhanced the moody, stage-lit, intoxicated tone for the series and made for hours of fun with “happy accidents” in the studio.
This series depicts pregnant nudes in various states of sensual repose. The artist seeks to question the paradox commonly found in the juxtaposition of motherhood and sensuality. Intended to be a commentary on the mother – or virgin – /whore dichotomy, the artist portrays the ripening of the female form AND it’s sexual appeal as opposed to an expiration of it. The imagery is potent and it’s topic particularly charged as many of the pieces were created while the artist herself was pregnant.
In Rilke’s “Letters to a Young Poet” he writes, “And you should not let yourself be confused in your solitude by the fact that there is something in you that wants to break out of it. This very wish will help you, if you use it quietly, and deliberately and like a tool, to spread out your solitude over wide country”….. “We know little, but that it is good to be solitary, for solitude is difficult; that something is difficult must be a reason the more for us to do it”….. “But learning-time is always a long, secluded time, and so loving, for a long while ahead and far on into life, is – solitude, intensified.”
After reading these passages, something shifted in me. I began to realize the difference between the state of being alone and that of being in solitude, embraced the difference and reveled in my solitude… settled into my skin. It was then that I began the series “solitudes.”
I chose the bathing theme for its intimacy, its coming to terms with one’s core and “naked” truths, learning to love the self. The series story-boards this progression of realizations for me. Initially, she clings to her outer layers of comfort, and ideas about her identity, afraid of the aloneness. Then, she commences the journey of going within, then further in, and she sits with herself, and finally emerges, cleansed, with a firm sense of self, with the courage to be vulnerable. She is solitary, yet ready to be in and of the world.