Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Emil Orlik's Mothers With Children

I recently discovered the wonderful woodcuts of Emil Orlik through Clive Christy's blog Art and the Aesthete. Check out that article here.

I was especially drawn to this image of two mothers and their infants. Delicate contour lines sensitively describe the texture of clothing and volume of the warm bodies underneath. The women's arms and hands disappear behind them in support while fabric X's pull tight across their chests. I feel the weight on their backs. One woman heads out of the frame, slightly bent forward. Her baby is awake, eyes scoping out his environment. In contrast, the aim of his mother's expression - alert eyes and tight mouth - signals a clear destination. The other woman captures the viewer's attention more-so in that she stands still, gazing directly back at us. Her expression is soft, content, and a little tired. She and we take brief note of her experience of this moment in time, as her baby's head sleepily slumps over her shoulder. In a second or two, the moment will have passed. She will turn away from us and, like the first woman, resume a quiet and constant movement forward.

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