Thursday, March 15, 2018

Painting, thinking and Frida Kahlo

Here is a recent painting- not quite sure what to call it - maybe simply "Station"? ? I was thinking of a sort of "sky's the limit" outlook - whether for a new arrival or for someone going on a trip- and I liked the idea of simply looking up. With all the depressing political news and concerns for democracy- maybe something a bit inspirational is what we need. I've been doing a workshop concentrating on composition- the main "backbone" of a painting- that has been very inspirational and  calling into question how to approach various subjects. This one  "works" because one's eye is led around the painting and brought back to the central image. I'll be showing some other subjects shortly
-In a previous life, I had a large doll collection and also made dolls- so I still have some interest in that direction. When the first Barbie came out, I was intrigued as I felt that they were almost like the historical  "fashion dolls" that travelled to show the latest styles so seamstresses could copy them. I got a Barbie #3 - which was the first version available in Canada- and outfitted her in an American Airlines stewardess outfit. The original bathing suit and sunglasses went in her carry-on. Costumes then were much more intricate than later when clothes were made easier for little hands to cope with. So ,although my Barbie is long gone, I was interested in the series of famous women produced for International Women's Day. I thought the "recognition" was a good idea but have reservations over the Frida Kahlo doll. I now see that there is quite a controversy about it as she has definitely been "sanitized". Her costume is much simplified and not authentic. She stands straight and tall with no wheelchair or indication of the suffering she went through in her life - and there is no uni-brow which was a statement. She had a strong personality, painted some rather disturbing paintings and was a staunch Communist. So- what to think? Is it good to at least have little girls made aware of this famous artist? Or is it wrong to have this sanitized version? Would it have been a better, fairer, more thought-provoking image to have her seated in a wheelchair? The jury is out-- and I'm not collecting any more.

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