Regina Jacobson, The Cult of Beauty Altarpiece, 2013

The artist writes that this painting is about the devotion to the idol of beauty: the figures here “need to be considered worthy of acceptance while surrounded by a society that places so much value on appearances and wealth. To depict a sense of inner turmoil I stripped away the veneer of beauty, choosing rather to constrain the vulnerable solo figure in a stark and dimly lit environment. While this allows the viewer an emotional but empathetic perspective of the struggling figure, it also becomes a vehicle to transport the physical narrative to the metaphysical – to a deeply personal place where we wrestle with choices. The symbolic gauge of whether the figure considers herself acceptable or not, worthy or not, is a large yellow circle on the floor. While the circle defines the edges of her desire to measure up to idealized standards, it also hints at the futility of being admired for physical beauty alone.”

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