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August 14, 2013

couple - repose

robin f williams

Robin F Williams
(title unknown)
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Robin presents a diptych of extraordinary measure in its seemingly simple composition and narrative.
A nude couple in repose with backs leaning broadside on each other reside at the bottom of the canvas with only about an inch or so of foreground.  The mass of their bodies fills the canvas and stretches in elongated fashion filling both canvases of the diptych. The eye moves from figure to figure and body to body through a series of linear movements emphasized by the compact design of arms, shins, thighs and backs with both faces being obscured in some way.
On the left panel, a woman though quite possibly a man (?), sits with her left leg being cinched tightly into her torso.  Her body parts are covered and her facial features are hidden by her arm/elbow in such a position so as to obscure her face at its very zenith.  Her hands hang casually in the front of her midsection which resides in cool yet saturated tones.  Whereas her back is lit with light warm pinks and serve as a backing or prop for the male figure that intrudes into her space.
The right panel is filled with the male figure, also nude, who leisurely reclines into the other canvas and the space of the woman/his companion.  The recline of his body is less compact as he turns and opens his body to bask in the light of yellows and pinks.  His back side is turned to us and compliments his companions cool colors at her front with saturated pinks and oranges at his back.
These figures are not unlike many of the bathers or nudes you might traditionally see from ourModern Masters.
picasso - bathers - 1920
Picasso - Sunbathers – 1920
cezanne - three bathers - 1879-82
Paul Cézanne (French, 1839-1906). Three Bathers, 1879-82. Oil on canvas. 21 7/16 x 20 5/16 in. (55 x 52 cm). Petit Palais, Musée des Beaux-Arts de la Ville de Paris.
Robin F. Williams has reduced the narrative so as to remove the water, sand vegetation or even a horizon line with no ability to gain our bearings on the surrounding, no sense of place and with really no other accoutrement that allow us to provide a narrative beyond the bodies themselves and the dialogues of their formal elements.  We, the viewer are placed so low in the perspective that all else is removed except the figures. They become monumental in their silence, backing each other and propping one another, forever languid in a simple gesture of symbiotic behavior.
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