Sunday, March 6, 2011

A Matter of Perspective

     I think it was in the fall of 1995 that I posed for these paintings at PAFA, the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts. This was in the main building at Broad and Cherry, in the studio just past the cast hall. Carla, whose painting is second on the left, was asked by the instructor to "set the pose." We worked together to come up with something different that I could hold for the required 20 minutes at a time, and this odd seated pose was the result. 

     Same pose, very different approaches by the artists. "Burning Moses," (my title) is my favorite. The artist, Justin, would not comment on what he had in mind. To me, the bush nearby and the snake in my hand suggested a twist on the story of Moses: here Moses is aflame, not the bush. 

     Nishi (I think I remember the name right) was an Israeli studying in the U.S. I love the back view she painted, with its delicate colors. The "pallet knife" painting was by a Russian student, named Maria, I believe. Carla strove for a straight-forward, realistic depiction of the pose, with great success in my opinion. 

     As I look at these different views of the same body, the body remembers the difficulty. At one point the instructor remarked to a student "I don't see how he can hold that pose." The problem was not holding it, actually, but the fact that my left leg "went to sleep" each time, and took a considerable portion of my five-minute break after each 20 minute pose to feel normal again.


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