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.
Donors: Anonymous Kelly Akashi Jamie L. Bennett Sarah Cain Brian Calvin Heather Cook Zoe Crosher Sarah Crowner Julia Dault Shannon Ebner Benjamin Echeverria Vincent Fecteau Christina Forrer Rachel Foullon Hilary Graves Karin Gulbran and Evan Holloway Jane Hait and Justin Beal Amanda Ross-Ho Michael Ned Holte Susan Horowitz Alex Hubbard Nathan Hylden In memory of Sturtevant and others C.B. James Kristin Beinner James Janet Jenkins Siri Kaur Kristina Kite Lisa Lapinski William Leavitt Sarah Lehrer-Graiwer Adam Linder Meg Linton Shana Lutker Lauren Mackler Elana Mann Allison Miller Yunhee Min Dianna Molzan Simone Montemurno Rebecca Morris Joshua Nathanson Davida Nemeroff Alex Olson Laura Owens Anthony Pearson Corrina Peipon Dorothée Perret Jenelle Porter and Conny Purtill Astrid and Howard Preston Brie Ruais Ross Rudel Matt Siegle A.L. Steiner Don Suggs Ricky Swallow Mateo Tannatt Caroline Thomas Lesley Vance Andrea Longacre-White and Brendan Fowler Lisa Williamson Kate Wolf and Zach Harris
Fixed Wave, 2011. oil on canvas over panel. 36 x 36 x 3 in. (Photo: Brian Forrest)