This is a picture-within-a-picture; the nude figure produces a second image in pencil, in the form of a nude self portrait. A blonde, bright female form stands out from the neutral tones of this whimsical display. Her face is completely obscured by her platinum hair, rendering her playfully enigmatic. She concentrates on her artistic task of creating a precise pencil self-portrait. Her identical twin, also holding a pencil, recalls M. C. Escher’s pair of self-drawing hands, reflecting on the concepts of infinity and self-identity.
The pencil portion of the image is heavily distorted by perspective, commenting on the nature of context. From her vantage point, the drawing would appear to duplicate what we see from our vantage point. Although she doesn’t directly connect with the viewer, her knowledge of our presence is displayed by her nude self portrait from this angle of view. Compared to her drawing, she appears three-dimensional in this two-dimensional photography. This concept reflects on the nature of reality, art as illusion, questioning our own existence, and what does it mean for something to be real or a realistic proxy for what it represents.
The composition is based heavily on diagonals: her body, the pencil, the paper; lines converge at the tip of the pencil. Her back is a dramatically feminine curve that juxtaposes the many straight, diagonal lines. The steep gradient washing over the pencil contrasts with the soft lighting of the rest of the piece.
Most engaging is the fanciful mix of the surreal with the real. Her pose, particularly the angle of the pencil, is theatrical, lending itself to an engaging composition rather than realism. The piece encourages the viewer to question the model’s identity, her pose and the disparity in scale. Although the figure and body language is distinctive, the overall effect is anonymous.