Academic journal article Hecate

Wendy Sharpe

Academic journal article Hecate

Wendy Sharpe

Article excerpt

Wendy Sharpe paints portraits and others that she describes as 'semi self-portraits'. As she states: 'I identify with the main character, who is both female and an artist. I am not interested in likeness but more about situation and psychological state' (Artist statement, 2007). In Self Portrait (After Courbet with Model and Child Self) (2006), she references the painting titled The Artist's Studio, a real allegory summing up seven years of my artistic and moral life (1854-1855) by French Realist painter Gustave Courbet (1819-1877). Courbet's monumental work portrays the artist as an heroic figure with a draped female model gazing over his shoulder at his almost completed canvas. The scene is set in a grandiose studio where he holds court centre stage with his coterie of friends and supporters, including, on the right-hand side, such influential figures as the philosopher Proudhon and critics Champfleury and Baudelaire and, on the left, a largely uninterested group that Courbet described as representative of 'everyday life'.

Self portrait (After Courbet with Model and Child Self) (2006) is an homage to Courbet and his challenge to the rigid rules of the Paris Salon. Sharpe, however, portrays herself within a modest, domestic studio with coffee on the boil. Tightly cropped to Courbet's central group, she 'mirrors' his work--her purple and black striped tights mimic his attire, both artists have white cats gambolling underfoot, and the paintings on their easels suggest similar scale and tonal masses. …

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