On Seeing, A Journal #381

Study of “Heavy” in Triptychs

July 21, 2020


The heavy female body as an object for artistic expression has been explored over thousands of years by painters, sculptors and photographers (in the last 170 years), some famous such as Rubens, Picasso, Botero, and Penn, and some as unknown as the artist who created the fertility figure known as the Venus of Willendorf.


A previous (April, 2019) “ON SEEING Journal on this subject: “Variations On A Theme.”

I have been working, for many years on a series of such photographs. This undertaking is very different from my experience photographing dancers, fashion models and world-class athletes.  The subject matter challenges  the viewer, as well as the artist,  in light of the popular conception of what constitutes beauty.


For me the examination/exploration is an artistic challenge since I have something to say and want to create unique imagery, not simply echo work that has been done previously by so many other artists, for example, Irving Penn.

Some of Penn’s nudes.

and in recent years the painter, Jenny Saville:


Still, an artist creates mostly because within his or her gut it feels right or there is a strong desire to discover and thus explore and eventually to exclaim.  Art critics and art historians are compelled to analyze, elucidate and expound. I don’t explain, at least to myself . I am often asked “why this subject,” “why this treatment?” The answer is elusive even to me. When it comes down to it, I fall back on a notion I’ve previously expressed: I strive to make images that are unique, that express something from deep inside and that surprise and delight me.

In my recent scrutiny and studies of triptychs I’ve come to the realization that there is no answer, no one way of seeing such work, but rather infinite visual imaginings that relate to each other.  Therefore triptychs, indeed.


Two of my recent Triptychs. More later.


A vertical Triptych.