63 DIGITAL SKETCHES ON THE THEME OF CONTEMPORARY MUSES
This is a whimsical treatment of the idea of contemporary muses. Classical muses were the guides or inspiration for various pursuits in the arts and sciences, a sort of divine love interest for the dedicated or fortunate researcher. In later times we think of patron saints and angels assisting in certain social endeavours, but in more secular times I wondered about similar functions for more contemporary figures.
I had been thinking about my preceding series, ROBO and LOVED ONES, drawing on dolls, toys and popular myth, as well as returning to more serious formal issues of simpler, bolder figures demonstrated in PRIVACY PAINTINGS. It’s not all fun. Those series pursued the issues but given different social and mythic concerns, did not quite nail the formal side. It may be just the difference between working digitally and pre-digitally. I wanted to see if I could improve on my efforts there, see what more I could do with female figures in that direction.
I settled on female superheroes as a contemporary equivalent. They had a fetishistic wardrobe that suggested a cult (or occult), tempered with a strong assertive and righteous streak, driven by mysterious powers. Obviously they could not just attend to some implicitly masculine realm in the arts and sciences as of old, because the division between male and female duties there has narrowed considerably. Instead I imagined their musing domains as becoming more quotidian, even domestic – exactly the realms women have traditionally occupied. I imagined these new muses as inspiring a generation indifferent to domestic chores, anxious to avoid old stereotypes of housewife or housekeeper, guided instead by otherworldly beings, teasing and insistent. For some reason I made more headway with simplifying the pictures along this theme.
More notes at the bottom of the page.
MUSE-01-A (FIVE VERSIONS)
MUSE-04-A (SEVEN VERSIONS)
MUSE-10-A (FIVE VERSIONS)
MUSE-11-A (FIVE VERSIONS)
MUSE-21-A (FOUR VERSIONS)
While I feel I have improved upon earlier efforts formally, the pictures are still not quite as I would like. The advances are a mix of greater software experience and more relaxed judgement in composition and theme. Possibly female subjects play a part. I sense they can still jettison some of the more obvious content, become more oblique. Tied to that is my love of digression and diversity. This is the aspect that reminds me of movie-making a bit – the journey through moods and versions. That’s part of me.
Finally, the aim is always to strike a balance between qualities attributed to form and those to content, so that one is aware of the difference between say, (as a textbook example), a green picture of a lady and a picture of a green lady. My style in other words, aims to blur with subject matter in a conspicuous way, to splinter between realism and versions.