Sunday, August 30, 2015

The swimsuit issue

Polka Dot Swimsuit by T.S.Harris.
Watery Bliss by T.S. Harris.
At the above link, T.S. Harris entices us, or certainly me with a description of influences on her work, paintings of women from another era in lingerie and bathing attire. One of her collections is called "Noir." I cannot help but think of Lana Turner, Rita Hayworth, stars and pin-up beauties of the 1940s and 50s, along with the men they chose in the real world and in the movies.

It is the end of summer.  At the high school across from our apartment, school has been in session for more than a week.  During my childhood, we generally went back close to mid-September.  Of course it can be summer in Los Angeles until October when we often have our hottest days and worst fires.

There is something so unambiguous about a bathing suit.  Paintings of women wearing them feel as though the artist has pared away whatever else inhabits the subject's life.  Of course, that is what paintings do, catch and forever hold a moment in time.  The suit is a costume, not everyday attire.  Water is another realm, separate from ordinary time, ordinary pursuits.   I think of astronauts, of space walks, of leaving the familiar effects of gravity and terra firma for a cool and weightless world from which one returns reluctantly.

 For periods of my life when I've had regular use of a pool, I've been aware that there is a re-entry factor to leaving the water, consciously making an adjustment to the natural laws of land, its responsibilities, expectations.  Even in retirement, summer is another country.  A lifetime of having these month represent greater freedom, more choices, more ways to step beyond our everyday selves is not easily forgotten or surrendered.  No wonder most of us hold onto summer with both hands, even though we suffer the heat and long for the cool mornings to come.  Summer is youth and a bit of make-believe.  Winter comes soon enough.  Will anyone be surprised if we prefer to hang out here as long as we can?
Painting by Milton Avery.
Painting by Amanda Blake.
Painting by Jeff Hein.
Art by Anna Vaivare.
Painting by Jessica Brilli.

No comments: