Meredith Spencer Mullins, feminine traditions in figurative painting
The “women at the bath” genre is one I have revisited over and over. From my perspective as a female painter, it is important that the unadorned women in my work are portrayed honestly, without the gloss of perfection. The returned female gaze is deliberate and engaged.
This series evolved from my interest in feminine traditions that are routine in our mornings and evenings. This is when a woman’s multifaceted roles can be put in suspension. Makeup is applied or washed away, hair is tamed, contacts and glasses interchanged, wrinkles and blemishes inspected, and internal conversations flow in these quiet moments of domesticity.
Patterns incorporated in the compositions are inspired by vintage wallpaper and contemporary design. The wrapped and tucked towels are symbolic of the female bath ritual and serve to strip away overt cues of current fashion, culture, and generation. The women portrayed are friends and acquaintances, not professional models trained to assume a guise. My intent is for the figures to invoke a sense of familiarity, reminiscent of mother, daughter, sister, wife, partner or friend. Woman.
Meredith Spencer Mullins