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.