Two figures lie in the waves on pale rose, coral-infused sand. Their intertwined bodies are mostly obscured by a gentle surge of water. One figure lies on her back, supine, with her body visible from her breasts up. Her head and arms are thrown back and her short, tousled, black hair rests against the sand. Eyes closed, her face is sensual and expressive. The other figure, lies face down against her companion. Except for hints of toes, a hip, and shoulder, only her head is shown. The faint shape of her figure is just visible, cloaked by the surging white foam.
Above them, a strip of vibrant, turquoise sea that horizontally divides the image into thirds. The top third is an expanse of rich blue sky, filled with dramatic clouds. In the bottom third of wet sand beneath the figures, their blurred, glistening peach-colored reflection appears.
Spiky black hair punctuate the palette of soft earth tones, cool water, and velvety gray sky. The few dark areas of the horizon and hair draw the eye to details such as pale lips, sandy wavelets, and frozen drops of sea spray.
Have these women washed ashore? Are they resting in their embrace on the sand? Are they lovers, friends, sisters? Are they even of this world? The image allows many open-ended interpretations. It portrays tenderness beneath the gentle rumblings of the sea.
Depicting figures in natural scenery is part of a long tradition of landscapes, both real and imagined, in photography and painting. It can be seen in artists’ work across time, a favorite theme of Renaissance painters, taken up again by the Impressionists, and continually reinvented. A.K. Nicholas follows in this tradition, often placing a nude figure in a landscape to create his compositions. The figures and their surroundings stand on their own, telling stories that are mysterious and universal. Seascapes and other natural landscapes are a refuge from civilization, symbolizing the animalistic facets of the human spirit.