The Park Place Gallery and Fine Art in Leawood Kansas is featuring a solo exhibition by LA Artist Peggy Nichols entitled The Korai in Modern Landscape from June 6 through June 27, 2008. Nichols states about this series of work, I have worked on the Korai in the Modern Urbanscape series for 4 years. Where I began with this image and my purpose for doing it is evolving. It has become an image that stimulates and inspires me. The illuminated figure in the shop window represents what I believe to be a replicant of our icons, the Goddess and feminine idealism Peggy Nichols has been a Premiere Portfolio Artist at absolutearts.com since 2007.
Peggy Nichols continues: The female image as it is presented in our culture today represents sexuality. It is often how a woman, conscious or unconsciously, navigates through a patriarchal dominated society. She is always aware of her feminine attractiveness.
I look at the parallels of being a woman that have run through my own life, the challenges in my profession as a female artist. What is my truth? Am I like the female image behind the glass window being contained and confined, to play out a role? The process in working on this series has been a defining moment for me personally. I am beginning to discover facets about myself that have been buried for centuries. This is an awakening.
I was out walking on a moonless night. As I crossed the street, my attention was drawn to a shop window.
Behind the glass, the interior was flooded in gleaming light. I stopped in front of the window. A mannequin stood there elegantly poised. A golden halo, from the spotlights above, fell dramatically over the contours of her forehead, eye lids, the top of her cheekbones, the tiny ridge above her upper lip and the tip of her chin. It continued over her shoulders, decolletage and limbs onto the stage floor. The light radiated in an aureole around her. A timely vision encapsulated in glass.
I stood there bathed in that luminous light that spilled out onto the sidewalk around me. I was her only audience. The street was empty. The only sound was the wind blowing an errant bundle of leaves along the curb and the methodic clicking from a changing traffic light. The night was magical. I went back the next evening to paint her.
When I was a child, my father used to take me to the natural history museum in Los Angeles. I remember being especially taken by one of the permanent exhibitions at the museum. The Habitat Hall depicted the evolution of mammals from prehistoric times to the origin of man. The rooms of the exhibit were darkened and subdivided into individual dioramas, very similar to shop windows. The only illumination came from the scene portrayed within each diorama. It was a world unto itself containing numerous species of fauna in their natural habitat. Each scene transported me. It was as if I was standing there, in person, witnessing a saber-tooth tiger on the prowl or a herd of antelope grazing on the edge of a deep forest. It fascinated me.
I had the same sensation gazing into the shop window with the mannequin inside. Inspiration can become divined and extracted from the most unexpected places. There is an inner calling that has caused me to ponder why this image has such an effect on me. Possibly, to create a visual documentation with the emphasis on idealism of the female form. To celebrate beauty? Not entirely. Since I started this series of paintings, I have been thinking about it in more symbolic terms.
The Korai is a Greek word to describe an era of art history when artists began to depict the female form from a simplistic to a narrative of complete naturalism, becoming the communication of ideal feminine beauty. She not only represented feminine beauty to delight the Gods, she represented a new quest for interiority, for exploring the inner self. She manifests what we look for in ourselves, our perfection, the balance of heart, mind and body. Because this phase of art (inner exploration through art) was so monumental, it has never been completely extinguished from our consciousness. The Korai stays skillfully integrated in our culture by some form or another.
The Korai represents a time in history when the Goddess was revered, when women were held in high status, owned property and their matrilineal lineage was carried on by their last name. By the 5th century BC, the Goddess and womens status was forever altered. She lost her power. Mysteriously, her image as Goddess disappeared from the ancient Western world. Today we see her phantom image, long ago replaced by superficial decorum. Centuries of soul starvation have left her disconnected and unaware of her true nature.
She shows up in the common shop window instead of a temple. She stands behind the glass of the window, contained in a box, frozen, a replicant. She looks mundane, an ordinary object by day. The icon that has lost its luster. At night, she is transformed. There is an awakening. She exudes the origins of her ancestry. She is illuminated by spotlights. She is elevated above the street so that you must look up at her. Her vacant stare has become a mysterious gaze. She seems to remember who she was. As an artist, I feel compelled to narrate her form and to present her back to the world in exaltation.
View more of Peggy NIchols work in her Premiere Portfolio at absolutearts.com at: http://www.absolutearts.com/portfolios/p/peggynichols
Title: The Korai Red Carpet gold
Year Created: 2005
Medium: Painting Oil
Width: 36 inches
Height: 48 inches