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Portfolios: October 2013 Curator Reviewed Art
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Embrace is a powerfully charged work, but there are peculiar psychological undercurrents I find hard to immediately identify. I think that the proportions of the figures themselves call to mind a general androgyny (or specific female masculinity?) despite their obviously defined gender roles. The female’s broad back controls the couple’s movement in the tight space, while the male ‘lead’ is slightly softer, despite his rather square jaw. The taught flesh and muscles of both dancers nicely push the same broken color found throughout their clothing and interior space. But the palette is ironically cool, between the green and violet shadows and the predominantly cool red. For me the burgundy/wine red drapery doesn’t conjure predicable feelings of passion, as in a pure crimson hue, but a sort of looming hazard or apprehension. Accordingly, the dance insinuates a tense friction of the formidable pair as well as a clash of the basic formal elements. Perhaps the painting so skillfully captures the antagonistic spirit of tango that I hadn’t considered it before.
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