The painting dedicated to Romaine Brooks is one of the largest in the series. Its scale allowed me to thoroughly explore and pay tribute to the layered mark-making and loose brushwork of her 1923 “Self Portrait” background in my own. Her moody palette perfectly surrounds the figure in the painting and brings the focus back to her intention to challenge depictions of female sexuality in art. Her work was lightyears ahead of its time in its openness and androgyny. My model is a carefully considered choice for this piece. She contributes to and reinforces the conversation Brooks began on what powerful women can look like as the subject of artwork. She owns her own feminine and pensive expression in an irreverent posture. She smokes ever-so-coolly while a “Tobacco Hornworm” moth lights on her collar. A single ember burns and shares the bright orange color of the moth’s body, connecting the two both symbolically and with a hint of sarcasm.
Manduca Sexta, for Romaine Brooks
charcoal and pastel on Stonehenge paper
28x20" artwork size
Part of the "Reformation: Art Herstory and the Moth" series