Helt, Tim Lowly © 2015, acrylic on panel, 24" x 18"
This painting is part of the re. Rainbow Girl project. The "meaning" of these paintings is suggested in part by their conversation with specific works of art–mainly well known European paintings. The reference this painting is making is probably one of the most apparent. The composition bears a strong resemblance to Norwegian painter Christian Krohg’s painting titled Syk Pike (Sick Girl). The better known Edvard Munch made a similar painting by the same title. It is perhaps obvious that I’m making a significant shift with the title here: instead of titling this painting "Syk Pike" I’m using the Norwegian word "Helt", which can be translated as either the noun "hero" or the adverbs "completely" or "whole" (it’s etymology seems to have similar roots as the English word "health"). To use a word such as "hero" or "whole" in relation to someone like Temma might sound ironic, but that is not my intention. My experience of her is that, in her persistence she is definitely "heroic" and there is certainly a "wholeness" to her person and presence (albeit one that may take a long time and intimacy to discern). As such the title "Helt" is intended to put into question the distancing presumptions many people make when they see a "disabled" person: regarding them as inferior, someone to avoid or, at best, pity.
The red blanket may bring to mind a painting I did a few years ago titled Cardina. I was also thinking of how the red garment Jesus is wearing functions in El Greco’s painting El Espolio.
I will be showing this and other works from this project as an exhibition at North Eastern Illinois University in Chicago August 24th-September 18th, 2015. On Wednesday, September 16th, 12pm I will be doing an artist talk in the gallery. And there will be a closing reception on Friday, September 18th, 6-9pm.
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