Dorielle Caimi has a new print available entitled “Commotion”, which can be purchased by sending an email to Michelle at firstname.lastname@example.org. The great thing about this release is that she also wrote about what the painting means to her and what inspired it. I love the connection of this painting to Gentileschi’s (seen below post). I know I might be digging here, but I also noticed that the pose was reminiscent of the figure seen in “Leda and the Swan” by Da Vinci. The story is of course about Leda being seduced (raped) by Zeus, and to me this is what makes the figure Caimi has painted to exude even more strength. I could go on and on about this piece and the possible connections, but there is nothing better than the artist’s statement about the work.
The painting “Commotion” was initially inspired by Artemisia Gentileschi’s painting “Susanna and the Elders.” Her painting depicts a distressed bathing woman whose privacy is breeched by two leering men who desire her for her female flesh.
As a feminist and a female artist, I wanted to put a contemporary spin on this painting by taking flowers (a stereotypical symbol of femininity) and creating a piece that illustrates the imposition of feminine societal norms on women. I sought to paint a woman with a healthy and realistic physique to illustrate her non-participation in the pressures for women to be thin and “sexy.” In the painting, she is being bombarded with a tsunami of flowers that insist that her identity is the stripped down and simple version of what it means to be female.
For me, this painting represents the strength women possess to push away dictative societal pressures. My hope is that the figure’s expression of disgust and distress, displays her discomfort with the idea that women need to accept society’s ideals of femininity. The flowers in the painting could represent a number of things: cat-calling, Women’s Health magazine, constant apologizing, bulimia, the “Smile” command from strangers on the street, lesser wages, prying when-are-you-having-children? inquiries, and so on. If I could conjure just one reaction from my audience through this painting, it would be to just LET HER BE.
I called the painting “Commotion” because I wanted to address exactly what I felt the flowers were doing, namely causing (as the dictionary would describe it) “a state of confused and noisy disturbance.” Just as I felt for the discomfort of Susanna, who was not okay with the violation of her privacy, as do I hope my viewers can consider that we might not be okay with all the commotion that confuses and distracts us from accessing our truest and authentic selves.