|20th October 2011||#1|
Join Date: July 2005
One of the more intriguing tropes in late-19th-century art involves depictions of gorgeous women who, while visibly full-figured (in keeping with the timeless ideal of plus-size beauty), appear to be floating in the air, hovering above the ground as if they possessed the power of flight. The women in such paintings are often characterized as nymphs, faeries, or other supernatural beings, or constitute allegorical embodiments of themes and ideas.
The celebrated painting The Evil Mothers (1894), by the Symbolist artist Giovanni Segantini, is a prime example of this trope. An eerie mixture of beautiful and frightening elements, it shows a floating woman (note the absence of footprints in the snow) who has been caught in the limbs of a tree, her tresses in particular having become tangled in the branches.
In contrast to the withered limbs of the dessicated tree, the lady's facial features are softly rounded, her arms are full, and her figure is ripe and voluptuous. She particularly exhibits a generous bust, from which the ghostly head of a dead infant attempts to derive nourishment. Other trees in the distance appear to have ensnared similar victims. The presence of the phantom infant, along with the title of the work, suggest that the woman represents a mother who has killed her potential offspring. The painting could symbolize the metaphysical or psychological purgatory that awaits such evil mothers, or it could depict the guilt-induced nightmares that such women suffer for their cruel deeds.
Segantini's haunting canvas provides a serviceable lead-in to a fascinating recent photoshoot featuring gorgeous plus-size model Maxey Greene. While Katherine Roll and Lindsey Garbelman are the shining starts at MSA Models in New York, Maxey is yet another beautiful talent signed with this fine agency, and, at a 16/18, she is legitimately full-figured.
The photographs in question were taken by Visus Photography, an up-and-coming talent with a penchant for shooting in attractive outdoor locations. The first image, below, highlights the model's magnificent facial features, with very high cheekbones softened and rounded by facial fullness. Her makeup is darkly dramatic, while her daydreaming expression and parted lips suggest a state of reverie. The dry, wizened twigs form an affecting contrast to the soft, smooth contours of the model's face. She appears incongruously young and robust and luscious in comparison to this withered locale. The very proximity of the thorny branches to her soft, plump facial features creates a nervous tension, for one earnestly wishes that no prickly twig ever mar the pillow-like softness of her face. Only the gentlest down, or the tender caress of a beloved, should ever touch her delicate skin.
Another image plays upon the tension generated by the contact between dry, rough wood and the model's delicate skin. In this image, her baby-soft cheek troublingly rests against the scabrous bark of the tree. One feels the same alarm as if the delicate skin of a newborn were threatened by contact with coarse sandpaper. And yet, the image generates a desire for tactile engagement, a wish to reach out and caress the model's soft, flushed face. Maxey's expression is enigmatic, a languid look that has a helplessness about it, a beseeching quality lingering deep within those mysterious eyes. The emerald greenery in the background complements the model's rosy complexion.
The most captivating image of the test, however, is the following, in which the model's hair has become entangled in the trees, very much in the manner of Segantini's painting, shown above. There is something almost surreal in how the model's tresses twine themselves amid the branches. One hardly knows where the tresses end and the trees begin, as if she were Daphne transforming into a laurel to escape the pursuit of Apollo. One feels a sense of enchantment, as if the beautiful model were somehow bewitched and trapped in this forest glen by a malevolent power. The greenery in the background is much richer and more vibrant than the chilly, withered environment in which Maxey is situated, suggesting a yearning for escape from her current confinement into the green, living world. Her complexion is fair and lovely, while her expression is seductively dark and alluring.
A second image in which the model's hair is entangled amid the trees creates a very different effect. Intriguingly, in this image, the branches form a shape that recalls the Crown of Thorns which was thrust onto the head of Our Lord during the crucifixion. The model's sombre expression and the composition of the image recall familiar depictions of Christ so crowned. Though it is unclear whether the branches are in contact with the model, the underlying Christian iconography subconsciously communicates a sensation of pain in the viewer, which is particularly affecting given the model's vulnerable youthfulness.
While the rich, natural colours of the outdoor world and even the dark hues of the dry branches contribute greatly to the appeal of these images, Miss Greene has also released two black-and-white photographs from the same shoot which have a haunting appeal of their own. These photographs take the Gothicism of the series a step further and show the model in a truly Victorian manner, with the shawl pulled over her face as if she were an apparition in a Wilkie Collins novel. Even more so than in the previous images, Maxey's expression is aloof and aristocratic, her very haughtiness being part of her appeal.
She seems ghostly, supernatural, like a revenant, or a vampire in the Bram Stoker manner, who has awoken from the grave and now lures male prey to their perdition through her eldritch beauty. Her eyes communicate mysterious allure, dark sensuality, and a inscrutable tinge of menace.
We will highlight more images of Miss Greene in the near future, including full-length photographs that celebrate the model's curves. But for now, readers can fixate on the results of her Visus shoot, which help to set the mood for All Hallows' E'en (soon to be upon us), and show how well plus-size beauty is adorned by Gothic trappings and eerie woodland settings.
(Click images to view larger.)
Last edited by HSG : 18th February 2012 at 04:43.
|21st October 2011||#2|
Join Date: August 2005
Re: Maxey Greene
The images are beautiful, and Maxey is exceptionally good at generating darkly alluring expressions. I love the Gothic flavour of the shoot. The bare branches remind me of the eerie woods in The Blair Witch Project.
What the photoshoot brought to mind most vividly, however, was the episode from the television series Samurai Jack in which the eponymous samurai encounters the Goddess of Spring. There was a post on this forum last year about that episode, describing how it juxtaposes the sublime and the beautiful:
The episode begins with the samurai walking through a forest of lifeless, pricky brambles, which suddenly blossoms into flower and greenery as the beautiful Goddess of Spring emerges. But then, after the samurai experiences a nightmare, he perceives the Spring Goddess as a menace and escapes. The verdant paradise transforms back into a dry, dessicated landscape. But the Spring deity remains behind, with an inscrutable look in her beautiful eyes.
This screencap in particular brought to mind Miss Greene's shoot,
while the briar forest in the episode, when it blossoms into luscious greenery, reminds me of the verdant park in Katherine Roll's recent shoot with Patrick Brassard.
Maxey is a gifted and beautiful model, and this shoot is creative, artistic, and very memorable.
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