1: Linda Stark

Linda Stark, Fixed Wave, 2011
* First Acquisition *
Gifted to the Hammer Museum, Los Angeles in 2018

Fixed Wave is a mermaid painting and also a reflection on the mythic “green goddess” or the embodiment of nature. She is marked by a symbol of her reproductive system seemingly branded on her skin, revealing her generative power. The waist-to-yoni teal green figure sports a solid oil paint teardrop belly button adornment, and blue water pubic hair in the form of fixed waves. A fixed wave is a cresting wave arrested in motion. It is a popular Southern California reference, and a platitude in scenic painting. I grew up with the nurturing seascapes my mother painted, translucent cresting waves reflecting full moons. I wanted to create my own version of a fixed wave and tie it to something other than the landscape.

The overall surface texture is made through a process of embankment, where viscous paint is pooled on the canvas, then pressed repeatedly with a brush to create the dimpled appearance of skin or water. To further emphasize figural dimension, I peaked the paint with a small brush (pulling the paint upward to a pointed ridge) along cross-contour lines to enhance the curves of the woman.

The female reproductive system is an emblematic, heraldic form, reminiscent of a horned animal. It has been the subject in a number of my works, and was originally inspired by a diagram of the endometrium at the four stages of the menstrual cycle, in the landmark feminist book “Our Bodies Ourselves,” published in the 70s.

— Linda Stark

Visit Linda Stark's website here.

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Fixed Wave, 2011. oil on canvas over panel. 36 x 36 x 3 in.
(Photo: Brian Forrest)