Winding Up (1836)
William Sidney Mount
William Sidney Mount was the most highly esteemed painter of American daily life before the Civil War. Using meticulous brushwork, he composed Winding Up similar to a theater set, and the figures mimic stage characters of the day. The man represents Yankee Jonathan, a country-bumpkin type. His hat remains on his head even indoors, and his handkerchief sticks out of his pocket. The woman, however, appears in her finest clothing, which Mount drew from earlier costume sketches.
The title Winding Up has a double meaning. It refers to the ball of yarn the woman winds from the skein around her suitor's hands and to the stage of their courtship. The artist, however, leaves it to the viewer to guess the final outcome of the relationship.
Clarity Haynes a Brooklyn-based painter, focuses on non-traditional images and ideas of womanhood, beauty, sexuality and gender expression.‘The Breast Portrait Project’ also explores illness, aging, mortality and the shifting nature of the body. Clarity explains: “I am interested in the many ways the body changes throughout a lifetime, and in the ways in which we create and change our bodies”. 🎀
Rene Leighty’s exhibit, “The Reality of Motherhood,” depicts the changes that occur in a women’s body that come naturally when having children. The artist describes her artwork as contemporary, expressive, dramatic, personal, and more importantly, demonstrates the reality of motherhood. “I used repetitive lines and shapes to display an appearance of movement and merged together a layering of multiple images in graphite and charcoal,” said Leighty. “The process is similar to the triple exposure technique in photography, with a repetition of recognizable body parts and overlapping imagery in my descriptions of a hectic life.”
Lime Line-with its eye-popping colors, dynamic geometry, optical rhythms and spatial complexity-is a far cry from the cool, reductive, stable structures of Minimalism. Dean Fleming was part of a New York group called Park Place. They explored pictorial space, the ideas of Buckminster Fuller (inventor of the geodesic dome), Space Age technology, science fiction, Einstein's Theory of Relativity and related concepts of fourth dimensional space-time. Fleming believed hard-edge abstraction was the language of contemporary culture.
“I think the outside world is a bit traumatizing.” — Raqib Shaw
“Joseph Hirsch painted Lynch Family as a response to racial disturbances in the South in 1946. That year the number of lynchings rose from an all-time low in January to a fevered pitch by August. Citizens across the country urged President Truman and Congress to end the horrors. To capture the tragedy of Lynch Family, Hirsch presented a mother with her baby, presumably survivors of a lynching victim, in abstracted surroundings. The painting focuses on the mother’s intense yet restrained hold on her defiant child while she turns to hide her anguish. The blue background floats around the figures. It both highlights their pain and contrasts with the sheer beauty of Hirsch’s painterly technique.” — From the collection of The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art