Monochrome art nudes typically prompt deeper study than full-color images. The limited palette draws attention to the abstract composition in a contemplative way that full-color images do not. On close inspection, this near-monochrome image has an overall warmth that invites deeper contemplation. The color scheme consists of cool grays that flow into muted earth tones that set the mood for this composition. The technique recalls my training in classic black and white chemical photographic processes that included sepia and selenium toned art nudes.
Each of the trio of figures is each posed in a similar fashion, theatrical in nature, with expressive hand gestures and tension in the legs. In each figure, a knee is bent and a heel raised off the floor, her shift in balance is evident, adding an element of movement. One figure shows her full face, another shows just a sliver of her profile. The other head is turned away, fully cloaked in black hair.
Each figure is firmly wrapped with thick strands of twisted manila, the natural fibers of the rope fraying. The ropes suggest an element of limitation, made especially ominous by a coil around each neck. Between the dynamic poses and the symbolism of the rope is a tension between personal will and difficulty. The exploration of the rope is highly tactile, it’s fraying texture certainly felt on her skin.
The bodies are isolated by the negative space between them, but connected thematically with the rope and through the repetition of posing elements and through replication in triplicate. The arrangement and postures are a bit of an anomaly in the realm of monochrome art nudes, creating a sequential narrative rather than a single portrait. The consecutive layout suggests a struggle that repeats perpetually with little evolution from one to the next. This leaves us to wonder if she is in the process of overcoming her burden.
The title makes me think of “three impediments.”
Compare this simple image to the same subject in a more intricate sepia tone nude photograph composition.