The Couple, Oil on Panel, Eric Wallis (USA), 12 Inches of Sin VII

12 Inches of Sin VII || Best In Show

In the tradition of erotic paintings of women at rest or at their toilette, this classic boudoir scene in The  Couple by Eric Wallis reveals two women lounging among their bedsheets, a picture of eroticism and intimacy. Black stockings paired with luxurious black hair and painterly treatment of flesh and skin make for a modern view of love and sexuality.

The artist pairs angular lines that echo not only illustrative traditions of the mid twentieth century but also the studies of early twentieth century Viennese painter Egon Schiele with the softly rendered curves of the feminine body ¾ beautifully marrying neo-expressionist figuration with a distinctly contemporary sensibility.

Dark and light tonal treatment allows for subject to emerge awash in bright light from the dark background. The everyday setting of a bedroom somehow seems ignited by the quiet tension between the couple who in their quiet recline and state of undress recall the traditions of a nude at rest. Indeed, this particular composition of a nude reclining on a bed against an almost nocturnal background spans the centuries from Giorgione’s 1510 Sleeping Venus, 1510 to Titian’s 1538 Venus of Urbino and as well the turn to modernity in Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres’s 1814 La Grand Odalisque or Edouard Manet’s 1863 Olympia.

In each embodiment, contemporary commentary and patronage is reflected, parsing societal norms, and the true lived experience of love, ardor, and sexuality. In this Wallis’ painting is no different, this iconic woman is now delightfully paired with her female companion and shows little concern for the viewer, rather she is at ease and resplendent in her own body and desire.

~ Rosa JH Berland

12 Inches of Sin VII