A nude woman sits on a pyramidal assemblage of logs in a pose reminiscent of Auguste Rodin’s The Thinker (1902) in Judith Linhares’s painting Up There (2003). With a delineated but transparent form, an absurdly large bumblebee feeds on enormous ﬂowers at the base of the structure. The female ﬁgure oversees the fantastical scene like a queen bee atop a beehive. Linhares revisits the subject of a monumental female nude in her paintings (a traditional subject in the history of painting), and as such, these ‘‘queen bees’’ populate a whimsical but historical world. Her paintings are large, and even in reproduction, the monumentality of the image is felt. Not only are the subject and size of her paintings signiﬁcant, but what also matters to the meaning of her work is her own identity as a woman and as a painter. In her evocation of recognizable ﬁgures (as in comparison to The Thinker), Linhares assertively tackles the history and subject of painting itself in her works. She renders the sky in Up There with enormous brushstrokes of blue and white and applies seemingly arbitrary swaths of orange throughout the composition. At once, Linhares manages to merge abstraction and ﬁguration, the recognizable and the uncanny, the historical and the contemporary, the conventional and the avant-garde. [excerpt]
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Egan, Shannon. (Fall 2009) A Venus of Wild Nights: The Female Nude in Paintings by Judith Linhares. The Gettysburg Review 22(3):413-440.
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Used with permission from The Gettysburg Review