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  • Writer's pictureTessel van der Putte

The space we hold for ourselves, mirrors the space we hold for others.

What is the story behind the artwork 'Celestial Bodies' (acrylic on canvas 100 x 100 cm)?

Diving deeper into the meaning of the painting, this blog elaborates on themes such as "spaciousness" - both physical and emotional - and the importance of women empowering each other by empowering themselves (in honor of upcoming Women's Day, 8 March 2023).

Contrary to the celestial bodies lightyears away, this artwork borrows the astronomical term —Celestial Bodies— to visualize an emotional universe and space that exists within and between every person. At the same time, the title plays with the contradictions embodied by the female nude: her image as "divine" being idealized as well as both objectified and censored in many spaces.

The painting portrays two women that exist in a framed space, seemingly part of each other, but each aligned with their own direction. They are in sharp contrast to the black space behind them, which alludes to the absence of matter, a universe perhaps. An emptiness. As the two figures are painted in deep reds and autumn colors, the artwork also contains abstraction of colors to create a sense of grounding and introspection. Although red is the color of soil, of fire and pain, it is also a color of love, passion and creation; a dichotomy every woman embodies.

A feminine gaze

This brings me to the feminine gaze many, if not all, of my artworks carry. On canvasses such as these, I aim to re-imagine worlds in which the role of the feminine has a different place in society and a more prominent place within. This is because I believe that women have the intrinsic power to find connection through creation - and to create through fire and pain. Coming from a deep-seated desire to find ourselves in others, this painting also depicts how women gravitate toward each other in recognition of a shared existence in space.

Closed, the eyes of these two figures do not meet a spectator outside of themselves. They are nude, yet they are not performing for anyone or recognizing their viewer’s sight by meeting them with their own. The female figures are there for themselves. They come as they are: honest, strong, and self-aware. Their gaze - like their minds - is turned to a space inward.

The space each woman holds for herself, mirrors the space she holds for the other. This is an important allegory of the painting: by holding a space for people around us, a space of trust, respect, and collaboration, we in essence create that same space for ourselves.

Our internal worlds are the outside world, reversed.

This artwork has been sold.


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